How Millennials Could Impact the Future of Healthcare

November 12, 2019

Millennials are the largest generation ever, but if their health issues aren’t addressed, their well-being and the economy will face consequences.

The health of individuals who were born between 1981 and 1996, also known as millennials, could have a serious impact on the U.S. economy, according to a report by Moody’s Analytics and information provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Compared to when Generation X, those born around the years of 1965 to 1980, was the same age, millennials are projected to experience slower economic growth and pay more in health care costs over the next decade, the report says.

This could have a crippling effect on the economy, according to the study, The Economic Consequences of Millennial Health.

According to BCBS, nearly 73 million millennials are in the U.S. right now–the largest contributors to the U.S. labor market, comprising more than 35% of all workers and rising.

Based on study, two different scenarios of millennial health and what the impact may be over the next decade were developed. If millennial health continues to decline and goes unaddressed over the next 10 years, the report predicts in comparison to “Gen Xers” at the same age, millennials may experience:

  • Healthcare treatment costs that can rise as much as 33%.

  • Mortality rates could rise as much as 40%.

  • Millennials’ annual income may, on average, be reduced by as much as $4,500 per person, as poor health will likely lead to job loss or reduced working hours.

Related Link: Top Millennial Health Issues

Moody’s Analytics analyzed the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index, which quantifies more than 300 health conditions to identify which may affect Americans’ longevity and quality of life. It’s powered by annual data from more than 41 million commercially insured BCBS members nationwide.

“Over the past year, we met with millennials, healthcare providers, employers and community leaders across the country in 14 cities to learn more about what we can do to improve health care for millennials,” says Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “This generation places high value on personalized care, which treats both the mind and the body in a holistic manner, and they are challenging all of us-employers, providers, health plans-to meet their unique needs and put them on a path towards better health.”

According to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, “Millennials are the largest, most educated, and most connected generation ever. But, they also have serious health issues that if not addressed, will have serious long-term consequences for their well-being and the performance of the U.S. economy.”

However, a recent BCBSA survey found that many millennials are much more aware of the financial impacts of their health than previously thought:

  • 54% of millennials think of their financial status before making healthcare decisions, compared to only 21% of Baby Boomers.

  • 52% of millennials say their current health insurance is very or extremely impactful on their decision to stay with their current employer.

  • 67% of millennials say they only see a doctor when they are sick or in urgent need of care.

Although, other millennials are not seeking preventative care, which can be a contributing cause of adverse health. For example, almost one-third of millennials do not have a primary care physician. 

This analysis is a follow up to a BCBS report, The Health of Millennials, part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report series.

The Health of Millennials report found that compared to Gen Xers, millennials are more likely to experience major depression, hyperactivity and type II diabetes, among other behavioral and physical conditions. The report looked at millennials who were between aged 34 and 36 years in 2017 and Gen Xers who were aged 34 to 36 in 2014.

For more information, visit https://bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/millennialhealth.