Industry Trends: Millennials Helping to Change Health Care

Industry Trends: Millennials Helping to Change Health Care

We all have heard the discriminating generalizations made towards the Millennial population (otherwise known as Generation Y) born in the early 1980’s to the mid 90’s—“entitled,” “lazy,” and “glued to their phones” to name a few—but that unique, self-serving reputation has also now followed them into health care—in a good way. The way that Millennials access medical care may actually help change the face of health care for the better in terms of cost, access, and convenience.

New research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute examined how Millennials interact with their providers, finding big differences between this generation’s approach, and other generations. Millennials now outnumber any other generation in the workforce today and are more comfortable with more non-traditional engagements with their healthcare providers. They tend to apply their ‘online shopping habits’ to their healthcare decision-making. The analysis shows that Millennials are:

  • More than twice as likely than baby boomers (born between 1946-64) to participate in counseling sessions, stress management, and mindfulness classes (33% Millennial vs 21% Gen X (1965-early 80’s) and 15% Baby Boomers.
  • More than twice as likely to be interested in telemedicine than Baby Boomers. Forty percent of Millennials are interested in telemedicine compared with 19% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Generation Xers.
  • More than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to use a walk-in clinic. Thirty percent of Millennials have used a walk-in clinic compared to 14% of baby boomers and 18% of Gen Xers.
  • More likely than other generations to have researched healthcare options, such as checking quality ratings of providers – 51% Millennial vs 34% Gen X and 10% Baby Boomers.
  • More likely to research and find health cost information – 72% Millennial vs 65% Gen X and 64% Baby Boomers.

What is an interesting result about all of this data and Millenials’ digital health care consumption habits is that they are significantly more satisfied with their health plan choices. Survey results show that Millennials are more satisfied with the ease of selecting of a plan, the information available to help them understand their health plan choices, and the availability and affordability of health plans.

The thought is that this reflects their ease and comfort in researching consumer decisions online, and applying that same ‘Amazon retail experience’ to health care consumerism.

The Millennial generation is leading the way to efficient, cost effective access to the right care at the right time. Although there are generational gaps in accessing care, these habits present an opportunity for all generations to change and grow the efficiency of our health care system.