Healthcare is very different for millennials than previous generations. Millennials have grown up using the internet and looking up health-related information online. Other industries are powered by technology, and consumer expectations for a seamless experience have now spread to the healthcare industry. Millennials want that same convenience they get elsewhere in their healthcare experiences.
Millennials are also less healthy than Gen Xers were at the same age. This is especially concerning because only 63 percent of millennials have a primary care provider, despite one-third having health conditions that affect their quality of life. The top 10 conditions affecting millennials include depression, hypertension, hyperactivity, psychotic conditions, Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and substance, alcohol, or tobacco use disorders.
With approximately 73 million millennials in the United States, this group of healthcare consumers will soon be the largest population in the workforce. Considering this—and the fact that millennials are generally less healthy than the previous generation—their health status over the next two decades will greatly impact the economy, including healthcare costs and workplace productivity.
Learn more about the struggles of millennial healthcare and how to adjust to the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape:
The Unique Challenges of Navigating Healthcare as a Millennial
Millennials expect more from their health benefit programs. However, they struggle with navigating complex healthcare plans and finding the best options for them. These struggles are compounded by the stressful whirlwind that overwhelms them after aging out of their parents' health plans. Let’s take a look at the unique complexities surrounding millennials and healthcare:
Lack of Price Transparency
Lack of price transparency is a major struggle among healthcare consumers. Compared to older generations, millennials are twice as likely to request a cost estimate and compare costs at multiple locations before undergoing treatment. Medical costs are unpredictable and too high, according to millennials. In fact, 54 percent of their population forego or put off receiving care because of the cost.
Adding to their stress is medical debt, which is the highest among healthcare consumers. In fact, according to a survey by HealthCare.com, 23 percent of millennials skipped rent or mortgage payments due to medical debt—perhaps explaining why they put off going to a doctor until it is critical.
In today’s healthcare environment, doctors must be attentive to the unique needs and concerns of millennials and work with them to provide greater price transparency. Medical costs can be confusing. An understanding and empathetic doctor who cares enough to provide cost estimates and related information can go a long way toward building trust in the patient-centered care model.
When millennials get sick, they are more likely to go to an urgent care facility or look online for medical advice than seek a primary care provider. It’s not because they don’t think they need a primary care provider—it’s because their perception is that a primary care provider is inconvenient, impersonal, and lacks value.
Additionally, millennials are busy and often don’t have time to wait for an appointment with a primary care provider. For example, in 15 major U.S. cities, it takes an average of 24 days to schedule a new patient appointment. If a health condition is pressing, it's necessary to seek health advice online or go to urgent care.
Given the prevalence of serious health conditions among this generation, it’s essential to meet millennials where they are and offer a personalized, convenient experience with offerings like patient portals, healthcare apps, telehealth, and other online tools.
Given that approximately 44.2 percent of millennials are part of a minority race or ethnic group, this generation seeks out health plans that understand the nuances between different minorities. Diversity that goes beyond stock footage of diverse families in health plan materials is a key component in the search for quality healthcare. True diversity requires understanding, trust, and a provider’s desire to create deeper connections with patients.
Millennials conduct thorough research before making big decisions, especially when it comes to care options. In fact, approximately 51 percent of millennials research the ratings and quality of doctors or hospitals. They are also twice as likely to use health cost-tracking tools online.
Tips for Navigating Healthcare as a Millennial
- Ask your doctor questions about where they are sending you for care. If they are sending you to a hospital, ask whether you can receive the same care at an outpatient facility.
- Shop for and compare healthcare options, just as you would everyday products at retail stores.
- Research the healthcare benefit options provided by your employer. Digital solutions like Healthcare Bluebook help patients find high-quality, cost-effective care.
- Ask questions and do your homework in the room with your doctor. Be curious about what options are available. Your doctor isn’t as familiar with facility costs; their top priority is giving care.
How Bluebook CareConnect Can Help
These healthcare trends do not solely apply to millennials. Future generations will have their own unique trends that come with new challenges. The key is to be prepared, evolve with each generation, and call upon resources like Bluebook for help navigating the complex world of healthcare.
Employees of all ages can have confidence in their healthcare choices and the assurance they’re receiving high-quality care at a Fair Price™. Curious about our healthcare quality and cost solution? Contact us today to learn more.