What Millennials Want When It Comes To Healthcare

In just the last year, Millennials (adults ages 18-34) have become the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, officially surpassing Gen Xers, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. The healthcare industry needs to take notice, as this group of young people presents new and distinct challenges.

For example, Boomers see their primary care physician 80% of the time, while Millennials only see their PCP 61% of the time, according to a PNC Healthcare survey. And not only are Millennials less inclined to think ahead about their health than previous generations, they find physically going to the doctor inconvenient. Further, they are more likely to ask for a discount and significantly less likely to schedule preventive visits. 

Having been raised with nearly constant access to information online, and an array of expectations that go along with the access, Millennials take a different approach to choosing their doctors and evaluating their needs than previous generations. The habits, preferences and priorities of Millennials have implications for the communication between doctors and Millennial patients. 



To stay ahead of the game, healthcare providers must understand how their younger patients gather information and use medical services, as well as their expectations around communication. Here’s insight into what they prioritize and expect from their providers:

Cost matters more to Millennials 

More and more, people (especially Millennials) say that healthcare is just too expensive. Millennials seek cost-effective care and treatments that will just get the job done. How can you let them know they’re getting the most bang for their buck? Here are some facts and comparisons to consider: 

  • According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 50% of Millennials avoid seeing the doctor to save money. 
  • Millennials prioritize the state of their bank account over the state of their health and seek out discounted medical care options. 
  • Millennials prefer to save with high-deductible insurance plans that carry a lower premium. They know they need insurance, but will often choose the plan that will cost the least. 

Convenience is a priority.

The use of technology makes everything easier for Millennials. Email and text notifications, or push notifications through apps, are preferred over phone calls and snail mail. Millennials don’t want to get a voicemail from their doctor’s office reminding them to make an appointment. When establishing lasting relationships with Millennials, it’s best to go mobile and adapt to these trends. 

  • For Millennials, going to the doctor is a chore. ZocDoc found that about half of Millennials don’t visit a physician for preventive visits or even checkups as frequently as they should. 
  • Results from Salesforce and Harris Poll survey shows that 71% of Millennials want to be able to book appointments through mobile apps. 
  • Seventy-four percent of Millennials would prefer seeing a doctor virtually. Telehealth is an attractive option when leaving work during the day or finding time in the mornings or evenings is a burden. 

Millennials want and rely on accessible information.

The first step any Millennial will take when facing a health issue, whether it’s a questionable rash or more severe symptoms, is to Google it. They Google their doctors also, so if a healthcare provider’s website doesn’t look up to par, that’s an immediate blow to a potential patient’s trust. Being present and progressive digitally is a must. 

  • Millennials are more likely than other generations to turn to WebMD and Google to self-diagnose before seeking medical attention from a doctor. When they finally do get around to going to see a doctor, they’ve already done their research. When checking the sites of healthcare providers, they expect information to be digestible and easy to find.   
  • Before choosing a doctor, Millennials will turn to former patients and seek out reviews online, quickly ruling out doctors they don’t want to see. If a doctor has no reviews or online presence, there’s a much lower chance a potential Millennial will consider visiting that practice. 
  • Because Millennials find it difficult to carve out the time to go to medical appointments, doctors should make the check-in process as efficient as possible. For instance, allowing patients to fill out their medical history online ahead of time, as opposed to filling out forms in the waiting room.

While Millennials present a new set of challenges for many healthcare providers, they are quick to adapt and adjust, and will reward those providers that meet them where they are and respect their preferences when in comes to learning about and consuming healthcare services. A focus on digital, on efficiency and on affordability will go a long way towards establishing lasting relationships with this sizable population.

This article originally appeared on April 28, 2016, in Marketing:Health.

3 comments about "What Millennials Want When It Comes To Healthcare".
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  1. Ruth Barrett from, December 23, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    I feel boomers are still being seen through the lens of marketing expertise (both research and practice) hard won in the "senior" space but not applicable to the boomers, especially those born in the fifties and later.  As a boomer and marketer I see more opportunity for social and economic reform in the medical and dental realm when it is understood millennials and boomers have much in common and will benefit from  "a focus on digital, efficiency and affordability." 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 23, 2016 at 2:44 p.m.

    They are going to get a rude awakening and sooner rather than later. This selfishie generation is gonna pay. One little mishap and boom....

  3. Allen Freeman from Cleveland Creative Inc., December 27, 2016 at 11:22 a.m.

    To say cost and convenience focuses are what Millenials prefer is narrow. EVERY AGE GROUP of thinking person wants healthcare to be more cost-conscious and easier to access. Marketers are too quick to automatically segment then paint those segments with a broad brush...

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