More than 50% of millennials weigh convenience, cost against traditional primary care

Consumers ages 18 to 34 are considerably more likely than older consumers to rely on emergency room, urgent care and retail clinic settings for non-emergency treatment than the primary care setting, according to a recent survey by FAIR Health.

Just 43 percent of this millennial age group would choose a primary care setting for non-emergency treatment, according to the survey, which is based on responses from more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in March 2015.

"Those care providers are convenient, and often they provide exactly the care someone needs," William Curry, MD, associate dean of rural and primary care at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, said in a statement. "It's important to realize they cannot take the place of a primary care provider for the screening, prevention and long-term follow-up that we all need, customized to each of us."

FAIR Health also found consumers with lower salaries also tended to shy away from primary care and toward the more "convenient" options like emergency room care, urgent care and retail clinics when seeking non-emergency treatment. Beyond the convenience, many millennials — who, because they are younger, are earlier in their careers and likely make less — may be choosing these options because they perceive them to be lower cost. Millennials were by far the most likely age group to comparison shop online for services and products, though just 19 percent said they have done so for medical and dental care, according to the survey.

Millennials and those ages 35 to 44 were also most concerned about their monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. And, only 17 percent of millennials report never considering the cost when they select their physician.

 

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