How Has Expanded Coverage Affected Costs?

Staff portrait of Kathy Hempstead

Katherine Hempstead, PhD, MA, director and senior program officer, leads RWJF's work on health insurance coverage.

Health spending is an issue of great interest and concern to policymakers, other stakeholders, and ordinary Americans.

To contribute to the better understanding of major trends in health care costs, Kathy Hempstead will explore the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending’s monthly health sector trend report in a commentary series.

Hempstead notes that the rate of health care spending has risen slightly. Close inspection reveals the importance of prescription drug prices (largely reflecting expensive specialty drugs such as Sovaldi) and the net cost of insurance, an increase associated with the expansion of coverage.  

About the series

Kathy Hempstead provides commentary on the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending’s monthly trend reports. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, these trend reports provide a monthly summary of key trends in health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment.