Skip to main content

Learn more about health care affordability

View the latest third-party research and news articles on health care affordability. 

The RAND Corporation: Prices Paid to Hospitals by Private Health Plans: Findings from Round 4 of an Employer-Led Transparency Initiative

Using medical claims data from a large population of privately insured individuals, the report found that employers and private insurances plans in 2020 paid hospitals 224% of what Medicare paid for the same services, with rates for inpatient and outpatient care varying widely from site to site.

Hospitals Charge Double for Specialty Drugs Compared to Pharmacies, AHIP Finds

Healthcare Finance covers a new report by AHIP that suggests that hospitals charge twice the price for certain drugs when compared to specialty pharmacies.

KFF: Americans’ Challenges with Health Care Costs

This research brief from KFF includes recent polling on the public’s experience with health care costs. According to these findings, many adults struggle to afford various services, and even those who are insured are not immune to high out-of-pocket costs. 

University of Pennsylvania, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics: Health Care Cost Drivers and Options for Cost Control

This research brief from the University of Pennsylvania looks at how different factors, such as provider incentives and technological growth, can affect the cost of health care.

1% Steps for Health Care Reform: Out-of-Network Billing by Hospital-Based Physicians

This policy brief from the 1% Steps for Health Care Reform Project examines how spending by consumers and insurers is impacted by specialties where patients have little or no choice over their physician.

Employee Benefit Research Institute: Location, Location, Location: Cost Differences in Health Care Services by Site of Treatment - A Closer Look at Lab, Imaging, and Specialty Medications

This issue brief from the Employee Benefit Research Institute takes a look at pricing challenges around labs, imaging, and special medications. 

Health Care Cost Institute: Ouch!: New Data Reveals ER Spending Increased By 51% From 2012 – 2019, With Patient Out Of Pocket Payments Increasing By 85%

This issue brief from the Health Care Cost Institute examines how spending, utilization, and prices for emergency room services have changed over time, and how out-of-pocket costs and out-of-network services have the potential to lead to surprise bills.

American Journal of Managed Care: Projected U.S. Savings from Biosimilars, 2021 – 2025

This study projects potential savings around U.S. biosimilars between 2021 to 2025 across different scenarios. According to the study, biosimilars could lower biologic prices through competition, but barriers to increasing supply and uptake remain.

AARP: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006 to 2020

This report from AARP reviews major trends in retail pricing for prescription drugs widely used by older Americans. According to the report, price increases surpassed other consumer goods and services in the time between 2006 and 2020.

1% Steps for Health Care Reform: Promoting Preferred Pharmacy Networks

This policy proposal encourages employers and commercial insurers to pursue preferred pharmacy networks to help lower out-of-pocket costs.

KFF: No Surprises Act Implementation: What to Expect in 2022

This policy brief from KFF reviews the No Surprises Act (NSA), which establishes new federal protections against surprise medical bills. 

Health Care Cost Institute: The Insanity of U.S. Health Care Pricing: An Early Look at Hospital Price Transparency Data

This research report examines federal regulation aimed at improving price transparency and includes various case studies on the topic. 

JAMA Network: Considering the Future of Price Transparency Initiatives—Information Alone Is Not Sufficient

This brief discusses the potential benefits and drawbacks of current price transparency initiatives and notes that improving access to information alone is not sufficient. 

The Wall Street Journal: Three Miles and $400 Apart: Hospital Prices Vary Wildly Even in the Same City

The Wall Street Journal reports on how prices for urgent but not life-threatening emergency room visits differ among various Boston hospitals.

USA Today: Prescription Drug Prices Increased Twice the Inflation Rate of U.S. Economy In 2020, AARP Report Finds

USA Today reports on an AARP report that analyzes trends in retail pricing for prescription drugs widely used by older Americans.

STAT News: Biosimilars Competition Helps Patients More Than Generic Competition

STAT News reports on the current landscape around biosimilars and how biosimilar competition may help patients save money. 

Axios: Law Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Starts Jan. 1

Axios reports on the No Surprises Act (NSA), which seeks to reduce the number of unexpected medical charges from emergency visits and other out-of-network health care services.  

Axios: Business Leaders Now Support Government Action on Health Care Costs

Axios reports on how corporate leaders view government-led efforts to reduce health care costs.

Hospitals Charge Double for Specialty Drugs Compared to Pharmacies, AHIP Finds

Healthcare Finance covers a new report by AHIP that suggests that hospitals charge twice the price for certain drugs when compared to specialty pharmacies.