Millennials have less insurance, less disposable income and are less able to afford prescription drugs compared to Gen X-ers and baby boomers, according to nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies
But they are also more likely to visit a mental health professional and more likely to save for healthcare expenses. They are also more aware of potential changes to health policy. They are healthier, more interested in workplace wellness, and more interested in healthy workplace food options.
However, they visit a doctor’s office less frequently and are more likely to rely on digital sources of health information than personal contact.
As they overtake baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States, millennials continue to garner a great deal of attention from the media, market researchers, and healthcare executives. Millennials represent a massive working, spending, and voting block with far-reaching economic and public policy implications, according to a study and white paper from Transamerica Center for Health Studies, “Millennials: Digital Natives Disrupting Healthcare and Stressed Out: Americans and Healthcare.”
As millions of millennials enter their peak spending and earning years, understanding their unique consumption patterns, beliefs, and underlying values will be crucial in shaping the modern healthcare landscape, according to the study.
Transamerica Center for Health Studies analyzed data from its 6th Annual Consumer Healthcare Survey. The new report illuminates the pressures they face that impact their healthcare decisions, their access to healthcare, their perception of the U.S. healthcare system, and their current state of health. The research offers clear trend analysis and actionable insights.
Above all, like many generations, millennials are stressed about healthcare affordability. Nearly two in three millennials (63%) cite healthcare costs as a significant source of stress.
Research indicates millennials have amassed approximately $1 trillion in debt -- particularly in student loans and credit cards. This debt limits the disposable income this age group has to spend on healthcare.
Millennials (16% vs. 12% of Gen X and 8% of boomers) are more likely to report being uninsured, an increasing trend since 2016. When asked why they lack insurance, 60% of uninsured millennials say it is too expensive/they cannot afford it -- and more than any other generation, uninsured millennials (11%) indicate that they do not have time to acquire coverage.
One in five millennials (20%) say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses. Millennials and Generation X (both 18%) have a more challenging time affording prescription drugs, compared with baby boomers (13%). In an effort to keep up, millennials are also more likely than older generations to pay for significant out-of-pocket healthcare expenses with credit cards (44% vs. 38% of Gen X and 33% of boomers) or 401k withdrawals (16% vs. 6% of Gen X and 3% of boomers).
Employers appear to be playing their part in keeping millennial employees healthy by providing health and wellness programs, and millennials are receptive to such efforts. Among the 39% of workers who are offered worksite health programs, millennials are most likely to take advantage of them: healthy food options (41% vs. 20% of Gen X and 28% of boomers); on-site health clinics (35% vs. 15% of Gen X and 17% of boomers) and individual mental or physical health tracking through a wearable device or online program (30% vs. 18% of Gen X and 19% of boomers); mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or relaxation training (29% vs. 15% of Gen X and 11% of boomers).