To gain insight into the various facets of Millennial healthcare, Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) analyzed survey data from 1,172 Millennials in the 2018 TCHS consumer research report, Stressed Out: Americans and Healthcare. The new report, Millennials: Digital Natives Disrupting Healthcare Trends, illuminates the pressures Millennials 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 analysis also trends data from annual TCHS reports going back to 2013.

Key Findings:

What are Millennials currently doing for health insurance? 

  • Number of uninsured Millennials continues to increase. Millennials (16%) are more likely to report being uninsured compared to 12% of Generation X (Gen X) and 8% of Baby Boomers (Boomers), an increasing trend since 2016.
  • Affordability is a major barrier for the uninsured. The two most common reasons for Millennials not obtaining health coverage are based on affordability: 60% say health insurance is too expensive and 26% say paying health expenses with the tax penalty was less expensive than the health insurance options available to them. Compared to other generations, Millennials are most likely to say they did not have time to purchase health insurance before the deadline (11%).

How do Millennials use healthcare?

  • Millennials are most likely to have no doctor’s office visits. Millennial respondents are most likely (32% vs. 27% of Gen X and 19% of Boomers) to report zero visits to the doctor’s office in the past twelve months. However, Millennials are more likely than older generations to have one or more mental health visits (20% vs. 11% of Gen X and 7% of Boomers), chiropractor/massage therapy visits (19% vs. 12% of Gen X and 9% of Boomers), and acupuncture visits (13% vs. 3% of Gen X and 2% of Boomers).
  • Millennial satisfaction with quality of healthcare system has decreased since 2016. Millennials (21% vs. 18% of Gen X and 13% of Boomers “not at all” or “not very satisfied”) are the least satisfied with the quality of healthcare.
  • Most Millennials consider preventive healthcare and self-care their most important health-related priorities. More than half of Millennials (55%) say their current, most important health-related priority is “staying healthy and covering basic preventive healthcare expenses.” At the same time, more Millennial men (14%) may prioritize managing a chronic illness compared to women (10%).
Is healthcare affordable for Millennials?
  • Many Millennials cannot afford routine healthcare expenses. One in five Millennials (20%) say they cannot afford their routine healthcare expenses, an improvement from 2014 when one in three (31%) struggled with affordability. Millennial women (25%) are more likely than men (15%) to say that they cannot afford their routine health expenses.
  • Monthly healthcare spending is less than $100 for many Millennials. Almost half (48%) of Millennials spend $0-100 per month on routine health expenses, not including insurance premiums. Millennials report spending an average of $229 per month on routine health expenses.
  • Millennials are using savings, credit, and 401k withdrawals more than other generations for healthcare expenses. Millennials with significant out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are most likely to pay these expenses with savings (52% vs. 46% of Gen X and 46% of Boomers), 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), and are less likely to pay with disposable income (29% vs. 38% of Gen X and 40% of Boomers).
  • Increasingly, Millennials are saving for health expenses. Increasing from previous years and more than any other generation, Millennials (38% vs. 27% of Gen X and 24% of Boomers) are currently saving for healthcare expenses. About one in four Millennials are saving in health savings accounts (25%) and flexible spending accounts (24%). Millennial men are more likely than women, 46% vs. 31%, to say they are currently saving for their healthcare expenses.

How do Millennials make decisions about healthcare?

  • Millennials are more likely to rely on internet resources for information about healthcare than older generations. Millennials are more likely than older generations (43% vs. 36% of Gen X and 33% of Boomers) tosay they rely most on the internet to gather information about their health, health insurance, and the healthcare system. Millennials are almost as likely to rely on family and friends (25%) as physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (27%) for information about their health, health insurance, and healthcare system.
How healthy are Millennials?
  • Millennials are the generation most likely to rate their health as excellent or good. Eight in 10 Millennials (80% vs. 75% of Gen X and 74% of Boomers) rate their health as excellent or good, a finding that is higher than the younger Generation Z (75%). Millennial men are more likely than women to describe their health as good or excellent, 84% vs. 77%. However, uninsured Millennials (76%) and Millennials who have Medicaid (58%) are less likely to rate their health as good or excellent.
How do Millennials view job-related healthcare?
  • Millennials are more committed to employers that support the health and well-being of their employees. More than half of Millennials (53%) indicate they are staying at their current job because they need the health insurance. Four in 10 Millennials (40%) say they had to leave a previous job because the company did not offer health insurance and health benefits. Seventy percent of Millennials say they would have greater commitment to their company if they offered programs to improve their health and well-being, more than any other generation.
  • Millennials take advantage of health programs at work. Compared with older generations, Millennials are most likely to take advantage of offered workplace wellness programs including: 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), individual mental or physical health tracking through a wearable device or online program (30% vs. 18% of Gen X and 19% of Boomers), and mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or relaxation training (29% vs. 15% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers).
How aware are Millennials of the policy debate?
  • Millennials are most aware of potential changes to healthcare policy. When asked how aware they are of potential changes to healthcare policy happening in Washington, Millennials were most likely (30%) to indicate they are extremely or very aware. Of Millennials that are aware of potential changes to healthcare policy, 57% are extremely or very concerned about these potential changes.
  • The biggest policy-related fear among Millennials is losing healthcare. Almost three in 10 Millennials (29%) fear losing their healthcare because of a pre-existing condition; however, they are less concerned about this compared to older generations (36% of Gen X and 49% of Boomers).