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The Blueprint

Healthcare Marketplace: A Glance at 2024 Trends

2023 brought in a wave of changes to the healthcare marketplace that will continue to shape the landscape as we move in the coming years. From the rise of AI and costly weight loss drugs to a continual move towards a more regulated healthcare system, one thing becomes clear, the healthcare marketplace will never be the same. Looking ahead to the new year will see the expansion of these changes and the emergence of others. Here are a few examples of what we expect to see.

Trend 1: Focus on Family & Wellness Benefits

With the COVID pandemic, we saw a shift in perspective and demand for more mental health and wellness benefits for employees. These types of benefits quickly moved from the fringe to a central part of what employees have come to expect from their benefits package. This will continue to play out in the year ahead with employers looking to tailor their offerings to attract and retain top talent. We are also seeing a prioritization of workplaces that support families and offer benefits such as childcare, family planning, flexible work arrangements, and more. When it comes to providing rich benefits, ensuring that employees feel supported will be key.

Trend 2: New Pharmacy Cost Containment Strategies

Some things never change, and that seems to be the case with employers continuing to grapple with new strategies around reigning in pharmacy costs. This year we’ve seen a steep increase in high-cost specialty medications and new GLP-1s which have historically been used for diabetes treatment but are now being prescribed for weight loss. And the price tag that comes along with these drugs is no small concern. More than 9 in 10 large employers have concerns about these expensive medications, with 91% concerned about overall pharmacy cost trends.1 One solution that many are turning to is step therapy, which drives patients towards more cost-effective methods first, but we can expect the marketplace to continue utilizing different and strategic methods to lower these costs.

Trend 3: Continued Evolution of AI

The release of open AI tools like ChatGPT in late 2022 sent industries everywhere off to the races to be the first to hone these new technological capabilities. However, the intricacies of the healthcare industry create more of a challenge for effective AI implementation. While we have already seen some of what AI can and will do within the space, we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to accomplish once the ever-evolving technological advancements have full capabilities for early disease detection and other applications within healthcare. The continuation of exciting new advancements is sure to be on the horizon for 2024.

One thing that remains constant in a sea of changes is the need for the right risk management solution. For employers with self-funded plans, it is more important than ever to have access to partners who can provide nimble and custom stop-loss plans to fit the needs of their employee population since they will vary across industries and regions. Whether you’re looking to increase or diversify your family and wellness benefits, button up your pharmacy cost containment strategy, or utilize available technology for plan insights, having the right insurance partner in place to secure long-term stability and minimize risk will be critical.