Health insurance plans make mainstream media news every week, whether coverage deals with the cost of a plan, the cost of out-of-network care, prior authorizations, or cybersecurity and ransomware attacks, among other front-page issues.

This week, AHIP (the acronym for the industry association of America’s Health Insurance Plans) is convening in Las Vegas for its largest annual 2024 meeting. We expect at least 2,400 attendees registered for the meeting, and they’ll not just be representing the health insurance industry itself; folks will attend #AHIP2024 from other industry segments including pharmaceuticals, technology, hospitals and health systems, and the investment and financial services communities.

I’ll be leading 2 panels covering the huge and growing challenge of trust in health care, and then the future of the health consumer looking to 2030, as well as doing a book signing for my look at HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen, addressing the growing consumerization in health care.

As I’m attending the complete week of sessions and several receptions, I’ve had a chance to review in detail the agenda which is ambitious, broad, and packed. Let me share with you my first synthesis of what we’ll be brainstorming and learning about this week as we fill up the Wynn resort convention space for the keynotes and breakout sessions.

Confronting and addressing access and health equity.  Access to health care comes in many flavors, and at AHIP 2024 we’ll be dealing with access challenges from health-insured people facing too-high deductibles to folks unable to schedule primary or specialty care appointments as well as folks feeling a lack of empathy or respect. Health equity and disparities in health care cost us in both dollars wasted and in peoples’ health outcomes and trust.

Lowering costs and bolstering value for payers….including consumers. We’ve been talking about value in health care in America for over a decade: visit my favorite essay on the topic published in JAMA in October 2015 as a testament to that 10-year+ discussion here in “Value-Based Payments Require Valuing What Matters to Patients.” Value in health care is in the eye of the beholder, whether an employer, a union, a government plan sponsor or the patient-as-payer. We’ll hear about some promising value- and risk-based approaches this week at AHIP 2024.

Building back trust across the health/care ecosystem. In addition to the Trust panel I’m midwifing in Thursday, Trust will be central to many sessions this week. I’ll be introducing our session with updated insights from the Edelman Trust Barometer’s 2024 health data, finding that our friends and family are on-par with scientists and “experts” in health care. How to re-build trust across the health care ecosystem? That’s what we’ll be talking about.

Growing design thinking for health and health care.  AHIP has, smartly, brought design thinkers into conference rooms for the past few years, and now at the national conference we’ll hear some best practices and case studies for design in health care — both for clinicians’ well-being and patient experience.

Delivering on omni-channel care and living.  Another lens on design is building omni-channel platforms for health care, everywhere, from mobile apps and digital tools to hospital-to-home and remote health monitoring, community-based care and brick-and-mortar settings for ambulatory and inpatient medical services. Patients as consumers crave to be the center of health care attention, and omni-channel platforms enable that to happen the way people experience other aspects of daily life such as retail, banking, and education.

Embracing workforce well-being — in and outside of health care.  Mental health and well-being for workforces — whether clinicians serving our care needs or workforces of employers covering health insurance — will be featured in many conversations this week, as employers seek to generate a better ROI on their health benefit spending and health care seeks to heal the burned out clinician community toward the Quintuple Aim.

Other more granular brainstorms will focus in on the future of Medicare, the GLP-1s and diabesity and more generally the cost of specialty drugs and role of PBMs, among other timely challenges.

If you’re attending #AHIP2024, I’d love to see you face to face…here are three specific places I’ll be where you can find me…

1. Come to my book signing on Tuesday 11th June at 615 pm in the Social Hub Booth 1427. AHIP has generously purchased HealthConsuming books for the first 100 of you and I will be so happy to sign them to you or your gift recipient  : )  .

2. Attend our panel on re-building trust in healthcare with my fellow panelists Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Dr. David Brailer, Dr. Garth Graham, and Dr. Reed Tuckson on Thursday 13th June at 930 am.

3. Attend our panel on the health consumer in 2030 — with my brothers-in-health-consumerism Dr. David Rhew of Microsoft, Don Antonucci CEO of Providence Health System, and Dr. Marc Watkins CMO of Kroger Health.

Wishing you well in health, health insurance, and health assurance…