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Millenials and Health

By June 14, 2016Commentary

We now like to categorize Americans by cute little generational labels.  Millennials are those born between 1980 and 1997.  Marketers are very focused on this group, including health marketers.  TransAmerica’s Center for Health Studies surveyed about 1200 millennials regarding their health and health care.   (TransAmerica Survey)   As with other age cohorts, millennials rely on family and friends and clinicians as their important source of health information, and in particular, for those relying on family, 64% say mom is the most important source.  Those millennials who are older (age 28 to 35) and who have a primary care doctor, are most likely to rely on health care professionals.  Surprisingly, only 27% use health websites for information and only 5% rely most on this source.  Over half say they have some recurrent health condition, with depression, anxiety and being overweight the most common.  23% have a behavioral or substance abuse diagnosis and 54% have a chronic disease diagnosis.  79% of millennials who have health insurance say they are in good or excellent health, compared to 62% of the uninsured who report that status.  While 70% of millennials say they had at least one doctor visit in the past year, a fourth say they have no primary care physician.  This group frequently uses urgent care and emergency rooms when they believe they have an acute health care need, mostly for convenience reasons.

Currently only 11% of millennials report being uninsured.  Afro-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to lack insurance and 60% of the uninsured millennials are female.  The uninsured are also more likely to be younger, have low educational attainment and two-thirds are unemployed.  A series of questions revealed that many of the uninsured lack information about insurance and health care options.  16% of all millennials and 47% of those currently uninsured say they plan to have coverage in 2017, with half reporting this is due to cost concerns.  13% of millennials have paid the tax penalty for not having insurance.  37% of millennials report that their biggest concern about the health system is cost and 24% say their greatest concern is whether clinicians will have adequate time to spend with them and address their health needs.  While 70% say cost is a very important factor in selecting health services or health coverage, only 37% report having comparison shopped.  20% say they can’t afford even routine health services and 26% say they can, but only with difficulty.  Half say they have delayed or skipped health care to minimize their spending.  Although a survey, gives an excellent perspective on how health concerns are affecting younger Americans.

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