Millennials make up 25% of the population, so it’s not surprising they’re worth an estimated $3.4 trillion in future medical spend. But their participation in the current health care marketplace is lacking due to obscure pricing, inconvenience, lack of informational tools and an outdated patient experience.
Personalized Primary Care
A Kaiser Health Foundation study found that al- most half of millennials aged 18 to 29 did not have a primary care provider (PCP), yet 93% want to establish a PCP. So why aren’t those connections happening? Millennials want health care that’s personalized – including emotional support.
In other words, millennials care about building an equitable relationship and want a focus on both physical and mental health. More than 80% of respondents in a Welltok survey said they would be better served if their doctor understood them on a personal level.
Lack of Trust
For millennials, that perceived lack of personalization is producing mistrust with physicians. Per Forbes, “38% [of millennials] trust their peers more than their physician. Additionally, 55% said the information they find online is ‘as reliable’ as their doctor.”
Similarly, millennials don’t believe their insurers have their best interests at heart. In a HealthEdge survey of more than 5,000 millennials, more than half graded their current health plan as an “F,” with just 53% believing their current plan was the most effective option in administering their benefits.
Lack of Quality Information
We’ve written about price transparency problems (and solutions) in the past, and millennials — perhaps more than any other generation — value accurate cost estimates before undergoing treatment. In fact, millennials are twice as likely than baby boomers to “shop” for cost estimates online. Still, high prices, surprise billing and lack of accessible quality information is thwarting their confidence: 79% found health care too expensive, and 77% said costs were too unpredictable.
That lack of confidence has caused more than half of millennials to delay treatment or forego it altogether.
Improving Price Transparency
For health care providers, breaking down these barriers is the key to unlocking $3.4 trillion. So how can they do it?
For starters, health care providers and insurers can work together to become more transparent and offer adequate information that’s conducive to “shopping.” Knowing the total price of care before receiving treatment would go a long way towards gaining millennial dollars.
Additionally, creating tools that allow users to search providers by doctor ratings and facility quality would improve the patient experience.
Providers would also benefit by offering accessible, easy-to-digest information on price and quality to boost consumer confidence and increase health care utilization. More health care consumers equate to more money for health systems and better health outcomes for patients — a win-win.
But while price transparency is gaining national attention and bipartisan legislative support, many health care providers are not yet complying. Those that do showcase their prices should expect to see an increase in millennial utilization.