Study Suggests Millennials Are Better Health Care Consumers

EBRI also found Millennials are leading the way in using innovative strategies employers are implementing to manage health coverage costs.

New research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds material differences between how Millennials interact with their health care providers and how other generations do so.

Analysis of the EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) reveals how Millennials—who now outnumbers Baby Boomers—are more comfortable with non-traditional engagement with their health care providers, and are more likely to apply shopping habits commonly found in the online retail realm to their health care decisions.

Millennials are more likely than other generations to have researched health care options, such as checking the quality or rating of a doctor or hospital (51% Millennial vs. 34% Gen X and 31% Baby Boomers); using an online health cost tracking tool (28% Millennial vs. 17% Gen X and 10% Baby Boomers); or otherwise finding health cost information (72% Millennial vs. 65% Gen X and 64% Baby Boomers).  They are also more likely to participate in wellness programs. For example, Millennials are more than twice as likely than Baby Boomers to participate in counseling on stress management, mindfulness classes, and resiliency training (33% Millennial vs. 21% Gen X and 15% Baby Boomers).

Millennials are also leading the way in using innovative strategies employers are implementing to manage health coverage costs. They are more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to use a walk-in clinic. Thirty percent of Millennials have used a walk-in clinic, compared to 14% of Baby Boomers and 18% of Gen Xers.  Millennials are also more than twice as likely to be interested in telemedicine than Baby Boomers. Forty percent of Millennials are interested in telemedicine compared with 19% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen Xers.

“Interestingly, Millennials’ health care consumption habits correspond to being significantly more satisfied with their health plan choices,” notes Paul Fronstin, Director of the Health Research and Education Program at EBRI. “This perhaps reflects their comfort in researching consumer decisions online, and applying the same consumer habits they use on Amazon or other retail online cites to the health care arena.”

The full report is published in the March 5 Issue Brief, and is available online here. A related EBRI Fast Fact is located here.