Millennials often get a bad rap. They are frequently described as lazy, entitled, self-absorbed job-hoppers who really like avocado toast. Well, newsflash: avocado toast is delicious! And there are plenty of exceptions to the rule when blanket stereotypes are applied. The truth is, millennials have plenty of good qualities—and there is no doubt they are changing the status quo. Health care is an excellent example.
Say Goodbye to Traditional Health Care Delivery Models
Millennials, defined as those born between 1982 and 2000, are shaking up old conventions in many aspects of daily life—and health care is no exception. Weaned on technology, they have grown up expecting convenience, speed, and transparency. When it comes to health care, Millennials tend to have the following expectations:
- They are responsible for their own care. Millennials are far less likely to rely on traditional health systems, especially when they are dissatisfied with the service. Because they value speed and appointment availability, they prefer on-demand health care, choosing walk-in clinics over doctor’s offices. In fact, 45 percent of people aged 18 to 29 have no primary care provider, while 85 percent of older generations have a PCP.
- They rely on the internet and their peers. 55 percent of millennials believe online health information is just as reliable as their doctor, and 38 percent trust their peers more than their physician. They are twice as likely to act on health advice they find on the internet and other sources, including social media, and about half of all millennials seek out online reviews to assist in choosing health care providers. When they do visit their doctors, millennials tend to be much better informed.
- They demand price transparency. The drive toward up-front cost estimates in health care is largely the result of millennials, who have grown up with the ability to “price shop” for the best value among a variety of products and services. They are twice as likely as baby boomers to request cost estimates prior to treatment and will often research prices at several different locations before making a choice. Both millennials and Gen-Xers are more likely to skp care due to high costs. The consensus that health care is too expensive is universal (79 percent of all Americans believe this), 54 percent of millennials and 53 percent of Gen-Xers have skipped care because of price concerns, while only 18 percent of seniors have done the same.
- They want digital options. When you’ve grown up in the digital era, it’s natural to expect electronic options when it comes to health care. Millennials demand online appointment scheduling, automated appointment reminders, online access to medical records, virtual or telehealth appointments, and post-care follow-up via email, texting, or Alexa. While these may seem more impersonal, millennials also expect excellent customer service.
- Their definition of “healthy” differs. Older generations are likely to define “healthy” as “not being sick,” but millennials view their overall health picture differently. They perceive it as including both physical and mental health and place an emphasis on factors such as healthy eating and exercise. Additionally, millennials take more of a holistic approach to health care, seeking out alternative therapies and homeopathic medicine.
- They prefer to shop online for health insurance. Online shopping is ingrained behavior for millennials, and health care insurance is no different. More than half focus on cost when choosing a plan, and would willingly switch to a new provider in order to save money. The freedom to do their own shopping does come with a price; millennials are less knowledgeable about coverage, benefits, and financial responsibility, and don’t always have a good grasp on how co-insurance, FSAs, and HSAs work.