The makeup of the millennial patient — 18 things to know

Born between 1982 and 2000, millennials are changing the platform of healthcare. They are not just the largest U.S. generation, but also possess a great purchasing power.

Here are key takeaways about the millennial patient.

Connecting with a millennial patient

1. The "WebMD Patient Engagement Survey 2015" found:

  • Millennials will likely seek out avenues for connected healthcare as they appreciate technology. 
  • This generation tends to possess less confidence in shared decision-making and engagement.
  • Millennials will most likely respond to a physician's verbal instructions, followed by written and internet communication, equally. 2. To reach millennials, physicians should offer reliable resources for patients to access in their own time, according to the WebMD survey. Within this patient group, physicians tend to stray away from recommending the portal.

3. When using the portal, millennials check:

  • Labs — 75 percent 
  • Scheduling — 39 percent 
  • Refills — 35 percent 
  • Communication — 33 percent

4. Seeking a consumer-centric experience, millennial patients desire a wellness visit that encompasses discussions about a healthy diet and exercise, according to Executive Insight.

5. About half of 18-year-olds to 34-year-olds do not have personal relationships with physicians, according to a 2015 Salesforce report.

Where millennials seek care

6. A FAIR Health survey discovered those patients between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to use emergency rooms, urgent care clinics and retail clinics for non-emergency care compared to older patients, who tend to receive care in traditional primary care settings.

7. Millennials tend to favor convenience and cost over traditional primary care, according to a FAIR Health survey.

8. Known as the "drive-thru generation," millennials partly desire these medical settings because they want care quickly and efficiently, according to a PNC Healthcare survey of 5,000 consumers. 


9. Although they like technology, millennials don't want providers to use it inefficiently, according to Executive Insight. Providers should leverage patient portals and electronic health records so it benefits both them and the patients.

10. About 20 percent of millennial patients use wearables, such as Fitbit, Apple Watch and Microsoft Band, according to the "WebMD Patient Engagement Survey 2015" survey.

11. A large chunk of millennial patients take to online reviews when shopping for physicians, according to a PNC Healthcare survey of 5,000 consumers.

Health insurance

12. Only 11 percent of millennials are uninsured, marking an all-time low for this generation, a Transamerica Center for Health Studies survey of 1,171 millennials found. Of those uninsured millennials, many claimed they were unaware or uninformed when the Affordable Care Act deadline drew to a close.

13. African American and Latino millennials are least likely to purchase coverage. Sixty percent of the uninsured millennials are women and 68 percent are unemployed.

14. This generation is most worried about their monthly insurance premiums and out-of-pockets costs, according to the FAIR Health survey. Only 17 percent of millennial patients said they do not think about cost when choosing a physician.

15. Of millennials, 72 percent are confused about their health benefit options, according to a Collective Health poll.

16. Zoom, a Portland, Ore.-based medical provider and payer, targets millennials with its quick, accessible care and wellness benefits. The Zoom+ health plan offers members more control and transparency, with members scheduling same-day appointments via a mobile app. Waiting rooms don't offer magazines, because patients never have to wait that long.


17. Cost is a big issue for millennial patients, so much so that 41 percent reported they ask for estimates before receiving medical services, according to a PNC Healthcare survey of 5,000 consumers.

18. This generation is more likely to underestimate total costs of injury or illness, according to the 2016 Aflac WorkForce Report surveying 1,500 benefits decision-makers and 5,000 employees. Sixty-five percent of the millennials surveyed said they couldn't afford $1,000 in unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses.


Editor's note: Initially the article read "born between 1982 and 2022" in the first paragraph, instead of the correct "born between 1982 and 2000."

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