In a recent study release, I was quoted: “Millennials are facing a tough road – in some ways they were placed at an early disadvantage compared to previous generations. As Millennials were just entering the workforce in the early 2000’s and likely had less disposable income, both insurers and employers began cost-shifting payments.”
More recently, we have seen that the young invincibles didn’t show up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) party. Questions were raised, like: Do Millennials want insurance and can they afford it? What is hindering enrollment in ACA exchange plans? Is there a feasible sweet spot for Millennials?
Lack of healthcare education
A 2016 survey of Millennials, conducted by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS), found that lack of knowledge was the biggest barrier to enrollment in ACA exchange plans, where consumers could compare and purchase health insurance coverage. ACA health exchange plans are offered in four tiers, with bronze tiers the lowest premiums and highest deductibles, and platinum offering the highest premiums and lowest deductibles.
The second most common reason was, “Paying my health expenses and the tax penalty is less expensive than the options available to me.” Clearly, the premiums for the benefit-rich plans on the ACA did not meet the definition of affordability for most Millennials.
We have to find a way to entice Millennials to the party and make them want to stay. Can insurers design a plan that meets Millennial standards for affordability while providing enough value that they will seek out and purchase that insurance?
It doesn’t hurt to ask — Consumer survey reveals Millennial mindset
To understand the why behind the what, we went straight to the subject to gain more insight. The TransUnion Healthcare multi-generational survey found that approximately half of Millennials (46%) would be more apt to pay their medical bills if they were provided an estimate of their healthcare costs at the point of service. In addition, 57% of Millennials self-reported either ‘no understanding’ or ‘limited understanding’ of their healthcare insurance coverage, compared to 42% of Baby Boomers who said the same.
The Millennial study further illuminates self-reported generational differences, including proficiency of medical payment plans, budgeting and healthcare planning. Despite challenges and trends healthcare providers are facing, Millennials are indeed interested in responsibly paying medical debts, while at the same time, healthcare providers will need to engage patients early.
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Gain insight into Millennial comparisons with other generations, like rate of payments in full, and approaches to embrace the new payer paradigm.