Transamerica Institute

Highlights: 2016 Millennials Survey

 A new survey commissioned by the national non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) found the percentage of uninsured Millennials has declined to 11 percent – an all-time low for this population – with more than half of Millennials also reporting having some health condition. The most common health conditions Millennials face are depression (17 percent), being overweight (15 percent) and anxiety disorders (14 percent). The fourth annual study, conducted in March through April 2016, by Harris Poll found that among 1,171 adults ages 18-36:

  • The percentage of uninsured Millennials has steadily declined from a high of 23 percent in 2013 while the privately insured and publicly insured percentage of Millennials has increased since 2014.
  • Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino Millennials are the least likely to be insured (15 percent and 17 percent respectively are uninsured). Very few Asian/Pacific Islander Millennials are uninsured (just 3 percent).
  • A majority of the uninsured are women (60 percent) and unemployed (68 percent).
  • Uninsured Millennials are 17 percent less likely than insured Millennials to say they are in excellent or good health.
Moms and doctors are key sources of health information for Millennials.
  • Millennials are most likely to say they used physicians/nurses and friends/family for information about their health, health insurance, and the healthcare providers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Millennials (64%) who rely on friends and family say they specifically rely on their mother/step-mother for health information.
  • Those with a primary care doctors (22%) are more likely than those without a primary care doctor (6%) to say they most rely on physicians and other healthcare professionals while older Millennials (21%) are more likely than younger Millennials (14%) to say they rely on physicians or other healthcare professionals.
  • There is a gap between Millennials who use the Internet for health information and Millennials who rely most on the Internet for health information: 27% of Millennials rely on medical websites for health information, but only 5% rely most on websites for health information.

More than half of Millennials report having some health condition.

  • The most common health conditions among Millennials are depression, being overweight, and anxiety disorders.
  • 23% of Millennials say they have been diagnosed with either depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or alcohol or drug treatment.
  • 54% of Millennials say they have been diagnosed with any chronic illness. <Page 66
  • Uninsured Millennials (62%) are less likely than insured Millennials (79%) to say that they are in excellent or good health.

Rates of uninsured Millennials continue to drop.

  • The percentage of uninsured Millennials has steadily declined from a high of 23% in 2013 to a low of 11% in the current survey, while the privately insured and publicly insured has increased since 2014. Of those currently uninsured, 37% have never had insurance.
  • African Americans/Black and Latino/Hispanic are least likely to be insured (15% and 17% respectively are uninsured). Very few Asian/Pacific Islanders are uninsured (3%).
  • 52% of uninsured Millennials have been uninsured for over 2 years.
  • 64% of the previously uninsured have been insured for less than a year.
  • Of the uninsured Millennials, 
    • 60% are women
    • 67% are aged 18-27
    • 57% have a high school or less level of education
    • 68% are unemployed

More men than women are privately insured. 79% of Millennial men are privately insured, compared to only 64% of Millennial women.

  • However, more women are publicly insured than men: 23% of Millennial women are insured publicly, compared to 12% of Millennial men.
  • African Americans/Blacks and Latinos/Hispanics are privately insured at a rate of about 15% less than White Americans.
  • Three in ten Millennials say they have never had employer based health insurance. Younger Millennials (born between 1990 and 1996) (42%) are more likely than older Millennials (born between 1979 and 1989) to say (19%) to say they have never had employer based health insurance.

Of those who are currently uninsured, knowledge remains the biggest barrier, despite the mandate.

  • Uninsured Millennials are most likely to say they did not obtain coverage before the ACA deadline because they did not know how to apply. Four out of the five most commonly reported reasons for not obtaining coverage before the ACA deadline had to do with Millennials being uninformed or unaware.
  • Insured Millennials (45%) are more likely than uninsured Millennials (15%) to say making healthcare decisions is easy.
  • Looking to the future, of the 16% of Millennials overall and 47% of uninsured Millennials do not plan on having insurance in 2017. The most common reason Millennials are not planning on purchasing insurance is due to affordability (47%).

A substantial subset of Millennials do not feel very informed about the health insurance options available to them and find decision making about health insurance plans difficult.

  • More Millennials are informed about how to prevent disease than they are about the health insurance options available to them. 27% of Millennials say they are very informed about health insurance options available to them, and 35% say they are very informed about how to prevent disease.
  • Over a third (35%) of Millennials say they are not at all or not very informed about the health insurance options available to them.
  • More than half of uninsured Millennials (55%) say they are not at all or not very informed about the health insurance options available to them.

Uninsured Millennials (54%) are more likely than insured Millennials (39%) to say they feel it is difficult or very difficult to make decisions regarding which health insurance plan to choose.

  • Millennials who choose to visit urgent care centers and retail clinics stated convenience as the most common reason for visiting those facilities.
  • More than a quarter of Millennials say that they do not have a primary care provider. Roughly a third of Millennials say that they would like to see one doctor who coordinates their care across doctors/providers, while nearly the same percentage say that they would like to see individual doctors/providers as they need them.
  • Visits to doctor’s offices are most common among Millennials. 70% have visited a doctor’s office in the past year, and 47% have had blood drawn for analysis. Less than a quarter have visited a walk-in retail clinic or urgent care center.

13% of uninsured Millennials have paid the tax penalty.

  • 47% of those who do not plan on having insurance in 2017 said being unable to afford insurance was the main reason for this decision.
  • The percentage of uninsured Millennials who don’t support the ACA on principle is 6%, compared to 25% in 2014.
  • Four out of ten uninsured Millennials see employment as a path to coverage.

Affordability is the most important characteristic of healthcare and an important decision making factor for Millennials. However, nearly half struggle to pay for their healthcare and most have taken some action to avoid or minimize healthcare costs in the past year.

  • When asked what characteristics of the healthcare system today are most important to them, the most common response by far was being able to afford the care they need (37%) followed by doctors/providers having sufficient time to treat their patients (24%).
  • And, seven in ten (70%) Millennials say that cost is a very important factor when looking for healthcare.
  • However, less than one in five Millennials consider getting affordable health insurance and getting access to quality healthcare to be their highest priorities.
  • About one in five (21%) Millennials say they cannot afford their routine healthcare expenses. An additional 26% say they can afford healthcare but with difficulty and 13% of the uninsured said they can afford healthcare without difficulty.
  • 66% say any premium at or above $200/month is unaffordable, consistent with findings from the past 3 years.
  • Nearly half of Millennials have minimized healthcare costs by skipping, delaying, or stopping care.
  • The most common action taken by Millennials is taking vitamins and supplements to minimize healthcare.
  • Despite cost being the second most important factor to Millennials when looking for healthcare, only 37% have comparison shopped.
  • Around a quarter (26%) have not gathered information about health, health insurance, and healthcare providers in the past 12 months.