2024 Health Care Trends Impacting U.S. Employers: What to Expect

Nashville, TN – Employers in the United States are bracing for the impact of key health care trends in 2024 and how they will affect their workforce. As the nation continues to grapple with rising health care costs and issues with accessibility and navigation, employers are being urged to take proactive measures to address these challenges. With the potential to drive greater access, engagement, and cost reduction, data and technology are at the forefront of transforming the health care landscape for both employers and their employees.

In a recent research paper, Cigna Healthcare has outlined six top health care trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2024. These trends emphasize the critical role that employers can play in driving progress by investing in innovative approaches, leveraging data and technology, and advocating for change. By embracing these trends, employers have the opportunity to foster a more accessible, efficient, and equitable health care system for their workforce and their families.

One of the key trends to keep an eye on in 2024 is an evolution in health care delivery and navigation. With a third of Americans lacking a primary care physician and a majority of physicians feeling overextended, digital tools and virtual care options are becoming essential in addressing the issue of fragmented health care and ensuring that patients can access care when needed. Furthermore, the adoption of value-based care holds the potential to improve health outcomes while reducing unnecessary costs, paving the way for a more sustainable health care system.

Another significant trend is the focus on population health and health equity. Employers are expected to work with their health insurance and health services partners to build equitable benefit plans that cater to each unique workforce. By leveraging data insights on employees’ daily challenges, employers can better support their diverse workforce, thus promoting health equity within their organizations.

Additionally, the article highlights the importance of improving access, experience, and outcomes in behavioral health care. Limited access and awareness have been key factors in driving up overall health care costs, with a significant portion of American adults not receiving the necessary treatment for diagnosed behavioral health conditions. Employers are being urged to identify innovative ways to connect individuals with behavioral health providers through data-driven identification models and real-time outreach.

As employers recognize the value of a healthy workforce, they are expected to invest more in benefit plan design as a tool in retaining talent. Voluntary benefits, such as supplemental health plans, are being viewed as crucial in offsetting patient costs and alleviating financial stress related to serious injuries or critical illnesses.

Furthermore, there will be a greater focus on a human-tech synthesis in health care, combining in-person care with digital well-being experiences to provide personalized and real-time insights for individuals, thus promoting greater engagement in their own health and well-being.

Lastly, employers and health plans will need to address the complexities of rising prescription drug prices while ensuring access to necessary medications. This will require advocacy for the approval and adoption of biosimilars, optimizing plan design, integrating cost-control tools, and partnering with independent pharmacists to curb increasing pharmacy costs.

In conclusion, the year 2024 is poised to bring significant shifts in the health care landscape, and employers will play a crucial role in driving these changes to create a more accessible, sustainable, and equitable health care system for their workforce.