The 18-34 year old segment of Americans – known as millennials – makes up roughly one quarter of the current population. As policy makers debate over how to effectively provide healthcare to those who are still uninsured, it would be wise to understand the views millennials have on such an important topic. Though these young adults are tech savvy and educated, their views on healthcare are different, as a whole, from those of older generations.
The System Doesn’t Work
Certain segments of middle aged and elderly Americans accept and even praise our healthcare system
1. Millennials, by and large, think it is inherently flawed. Older Americans are simply used to the inefficiencies that come from interactions with doctors and hospitals. But millennials grew up in an age of instant gratification. If they need an answer, they Google it. They don’t wait for TV shows; they watch them on demand.
The inefficiencies in the healthcare system are just one problem millennials have with it. They are a skeptical group who believes the American model of healthcare is aimed at making profits, pushing pills and helping sick people. Millennials, more than previous generations, believe affordable healthcare is a right all Americans should have2. In addition, these young adults are environmentalists who believe in a more holistic approach to health.
They Don’t Have Doctors
This is one of the greatest changes that has taken place over the last generation and a half. Older Americans have a family doctor that they’ve been seeing for decades. By contrast, a 2015 study found
3 that nearly half of millennials have no personal relationship with a physician.
It’s fair to note that adults in their 20s have fewer health problems than older adults and are therefore less likely to require visits to the doctor. But young people want to see a change in the status quo. Unlike older generations who tend to trust institutions
2 to do the right thing vis-a-vis healthcare, millennials tend to view the industry as an assembly line, where patients get bounced around from one doctor to the next without feeling a one-on-one connection. Doctors who embrace new technology and whose practices have an updated look and feel will have a chance at making lasting connections with this group.
Simplify the Process
The young generation of adults that are in college or newly graduated want a healthcare system more in line with the way they choose to live life in the age of modern technology. The healthcare process needs to be connected to them in a more personal way. Distrust in big government and large corporations means they want an easy, relatable and local solution to their health issues.
Millennials want a simple monthly payment to insure quality healthcare. They’re smart enough to understand the amount of waste in the current system. Current events, including debates over health insurance, are at their fingertips 24/7 and they want the healthcare process to be much more transparent. Confusing co-pays and unreadable bills won’t work with millennials. In their eyes, the current system is a dinosaur of confusion and hidden costs. A paperless system with affordable costs and doctors who care about their health is what they care about. This is a cross-generational issue that is already in process.
Is There an App for a Broken Leg?
There is no app that will fix a broken leg, but more and more healthcare-related apps are going online each month. So far, the majority of them aren’t specifically targeting millennials, but that will be changing in the coming years. After all, professionals use apps everyday. They understand them and will use them to their fullest advantage once more become available.
Some healthcare apps aim to streamline the process of seeing physicians. They can keep track of medical records and reduce redundancy in hospital visits. This plays well with millennials, indeed across generations. Filling out endless paperwork in waiting rooms will one day be a thing of the past. That day cannot come soon enough for millennials, who want a much more user-friendly experience with their healthcare.
Older millennials who have been dropped from their parents’ health coverage are in the market for health insurance and view the current prospects as exclusive. The issue of healthcare accessibility has seen a major shift in how it is viewed by this new generation of young adults.
The shortcomings of American health insurance are hardly a new discussion. But in recent years the issue has been much more politicized, thanks largely to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act.
Today, with costs skyrocketing, the United States healthcare system has begun to work against the average, middle-class American, rather than for him. Millennials recognize this change and view it as unacceptable. They believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege and think it should be the same for all Americans, regardless of age or wealth. They are not afraid to ask their doctors for discounts or to question whether or not there is a less expensive alternative to what their doctor is suggesting.
At 80 million strong, the voice of millennials is a powerful one, and one which must be taken seriously. Sooner rather than later, the healthcare industry will begin to hear them. They are not content with the current system and they don’t interact with doctors in the same ways as their parents and grandparents. A simple, tech-based process to obtain the healthcare they need is one which will go a long way for the forward-thinking physicians who are smart enough to engage this demographic of Americans.
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Sources linked to in article: (1) http://www.gallup.com/poll/179294/americans-satisfied-health-system-works.aspx (2) http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2014/03/18/what-do-millennials-want-from-the-healthcare-system/ (3) http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/07/heres-how-millennials-could-change-health-care/79818756/
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