Millennials Adopt Telemedicine and Approach Healthcare Differently

Millennials at Table on Computers drinking Coffee

Millennials do not have the connection to a primary care provider (PCP) like the older generations.  That may change as they get older but a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute is showing Millennials to be taking a different path that prior generations.

Millennials tend to have higher satisfaction with their health coverage and the financial aspects of their plans including their out-of-pocket costs compared to Baby Boomers and GenXers.

However, that group of healthcare consumers also tends to engage differently with the system.  They are less likely to have a PCP, more likely to be self-reliant to make decisions about their own medical care vs. depending on the primary doctor’s opinion, and they are more likely to use Walk-in Clinics.  For the most part, they are more cost-conscious when it comes to receiving medical care and tend to engage more in cost-comparison and budget management.  They also tend to participate in employer wellness programs such as wellness challenges, reimbursed gym memberships, and smoking cessation classes.

This demographic group of healthcare consumers is less likely to want to wait for appointments and are more accustomed to deciding what they need or want and pursuing it on-demand.  This is seen in their lack of attachment to PCPs, their use of Walk-in Clinics, and of note, a significantly larger percentage of them rate Telemedicine as extremely or very important to them.  All of this indicates more self-reliance and less dependence on the old-school paternalistic medical traditions of the past.

For this relatively healthy age group that lives in the digital on-demand world of Netflix, Amazon, and e-banking, they are much more accepting of also moving the healthcare needle towards a similar on-demand mode.  How quickly or slowly America’s health system adapts to changing patient behaviors and demands is yet to be seen but the surge in telemedicine in the past few years is one indication that we may be heading there.

Source: Consumer Engagement in Health Care Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X:  Findings from the 2017 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey.  Employee Benefit Research Institute Issue Brief.  No 444; March 5, 2018.