News Release

What to Watch in 2024: The Latest Health Cost and Affordability Issues and Trends 

While issues of health care costs and affordability may not be at the forefront of this year’s election issues, they remain a major concern among the public. About a quarter of Americans say they or a family member struggled to pay their medical bills just in the past year, and in recent KFF polling, voters said that health care affordability was very important to discuss in the election.

KFF’s new brief describes the health cost and affordability issues and trends that could reemerge this year, ranging from recent or proposed prescription drug pricing and transparency requirements to changes in how medical debt is treated on credit reports. 

In connection to these and other health cost and affordability challenges, key issues and trends to watch in 2024 include:

1.    Site-neutral payment reforms
2.    Price transparency requirements and what they could mean for costs
3.    Prescription drug pricing policies and the implications for spending and affordability
4.    Policy changes that could affect PBMs, the so-called prescription drug middlemen  
5.    New drugs and therapies that could influence health spending and outcomes 
6.    What virtual care expansion means for costs, access, and affordability  
7.    State cost control measures and spending
8.    Recent surprise billing protections and their effects on private insurance premiums 
9.    Policies addressing out-of-pocket health costs and consumer medical debt
10.  Shifts to value-based payment and the impact on health care costs
11.  Antitrust agencies’ efforts to address consolidation in healthcare markets

Drew Altman, KFF’s President and CEO, recently examined how health care costs and affordability are the two health care crises facing the U.S. Read his column.

For more on health costs, check out the latest analyses available through the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker: 
How does cost affect access to health care?
How do health expenditures vary across the population?
How does health spending in the U.S. compare to other countries?
What are the recent trends in employer-based health coverage?

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.