Benefits

Millennials Most Cost-Conscious Health Plan Participants

For example, Millennials are more likely than the other generational cohorts to say they tried to find the cost of health care services before getting care.

By Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com | April 27, 2017

Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers to get engaged in making health care cost decisions, according to a new study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

For example, Millennials are more likely than the other generational cohorts to say they tried to find the cost of health care services before getting care (44%); found cost information (77%); checked whether a health plan would cover care or medication (57%); checked the quality rating of a doctor or hospital before receiving care (49%); talked to a doctor about treatment options and costs (42%); used an online cost tracking tool provided by the health plan to manage expenses (34%); talked to a doctor about prescription options and costs (40$); developed a budget to manage health care expenses (35%); and asked a doctor to recommend a less costly prescription drug (42%).

Millennials are also more likely to engage in healthy behaviors than Generation X and Baby Boomers, the study found. More specifically, they are more likely to report that they regularly exercise and that they have a normal weight. However, Millennials are also more likely than Baby Boomers or Generation Xers to report that they smoke cigarettes.

With respect to out-of-pocket costs, Millennials are more satisfied than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Nearly three in five (58%) Millennials are extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, compared with one-half of Baby Boomers and one-half of Generation Xers. Similarly, one-half (48%) of Millennials are extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs for other medical services, compared with four in 10 Baby Boomers and Generation Xers.

It is important for employers to understand differences in generational cohorts to better adapt to a changing workforce. For instance, employers may need to engage Millennials differently than older generations because of different expectations and experiences regarding health care and health coverage as an employee benefit. Employers should better understand how different workers may react to different plan design features and other efforts to engage workers in their health, and use of health care services, EBRI concludes.

More findings of the study, “Consumer Engagement in Health Care and Choice of Health Plan: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors,” can be found in the latest edition of EBRI Notes.

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