Healthcare Costs, Challenges and the Evolving Landscape

In the last year, the healthcare industry has seen its fair share of challenges, with patients burdened by escalating out-of-pocket expenses, high-deductible healthcare plans, and diminishing coverage. This convergence of challenges makes it progressively more challenging for individuals to access and afford the medical care they want and need. Predictions from PwC say this is only just the beginning, with the cost of treating patients expected to rise in 2024.[1]

In 2022, CareCredit, a Synchrony solution, conducted the Lifetime of Healthcare Costs (LOHC) study which estimated out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare based on responses from insured Americans surveyed. The study also delved into patient perceptions and behaviors related to healthcare costs. Results found that with the average lifetime out-of-pocket health expense could be more than $320,000 for insured Americans. The study also found that there was a disconnect between estimated and actual cost of healthcare with respondents underestimating yearly out of pocket expense (excluding monthly premiums) by 145%.

The study also revealed that many adults delay recommended medical procedures because of the high cost. Fifty percent of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen Xers, on average, said they would consider postponing non-urgent medical care if the cost is $500 - $999. Meanwhile, 32% of Boomers said they would consider postponing non-urgent medical care if the cost of care fell within the same range. Delaying non-urgent medical care might seem harmless, but this research shows that putting off medical help can result in more health problems down the road. Patients delaying care could also mean that providers are seeing less business which impacts their staff and practice.[2]

The study also found subtle differences among generations regarding healthcare savings trends. For example, 65% of Millennials versus 60% of Gen Xers reported they were not financially prepared for their most costly out-of-pocket healthcare expense. Most notably, 4 out of 5 respondents said they do not have savings to cover unexpected health costs.2   

Consumerism is gaining momentum in healthcare as well, with patients encouraged to make more informed choices about their healthcare services and expenses. This trend influences how patients approach their healthcare decisions and treatment options, weighing payment experience factors in not only the treatments they select, but the providers they choose. Fifty one percent of patient survey respondents reported they use financial and healthcare apps multiple times per week, and 75% of younger patients reported that they have used new person-to-person or digital payments to pay healthcare bills.[3] Patients appreciate transparency in offerings and pricing, modern tools for communications and account management, and flexibility in payment options.

In response to the growing financial challenges facing patients today, various financial tools and solutions are emerging, such as, third-party financial solutions that offer patients more flexibility and options for managing their healthcare expenses. CareCredit is one of the industry’s leading health and wellness credit cards, with 11.8+ million open cardholder accounts and $40 billion in available credit. CareCredit facilitates a seamless digital experience for patients and extends financing options that can enable patients to spread the cost of their care over time with monthly payments that help fit within their budgets. Accepting CareCredit at your practice can enhance the payment process and helps minimize accounts receivable and administrative burden.

Patients and healthcare providers may increasingly rely on third-party financial solutions and strategic partners in 2024. According to new data from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), a nonpartisan group, healthcare costs will experience a sizable hike in 2024. In fact, U.S. corporate employers participating in a pulse survey project a median healthcare cost increase of 7%.[4]

As the healthcare landscape evolves, Synchrony persists in their commitment to deliver top-notch services and solutions. This involves ongoing research and the introduction of inventive approaches aimed at effectively addressing the requirements of both partners and cardholders. To learn more about how partnering with Synchrony can benefit patients and healthcare providers, visit



This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual advisors and/or medical providers with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accepts no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.​

[1] Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers: PwC, June 2023, PWC,

[2] 2022 Lifetime of Healthcare Costs, conducted by ASQ360 Market Research/Stephens & Associates on behalf of CareCredit, August 2022. Figure represents a baseline of out-of-pocket expenses which include average annual copays, prescriptions, and OTC medications, out-of-pocket co-insurance costs after the deductible is met, and annual health insurance premium costs. Not included is care for chronic or serious illnesses or elective procedures. Respondents estimated they spend an average of $5,266 on individual annual healthcare costs including insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.  Lifetime costs were extrapolated during an adult lifetime between the ages of 18 and 79.

[3] Patient Pay, March 24, 2021, CareCredit & CWH Advisors,  

4 Health Care Costs Pulse Survey: 2024 Cost Trend, 2023, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP),  


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