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November 10, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – By 2025, millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — will comprise 75 percent of the American workforce, and their health is declining at a rate faster than that of previous generations. In fact, the average millennial's health begins to decline as early as age 27. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has made a new e-book, Millennials in Your Workplace, available to help Iowa and South Dakota employers better understand millennial health trends and their potential impact on the workplace.

"One in three millennials already have a health condition impacting their overall quality of life, and that trend is bringing down the overall health of a generation," said Dr. Tim Gutshall, Wellmark's chief medical officer. "Unhealthy employees impact productivity levels, absenteeism and health care costs. Employers play a critical role in understanding and reaching this generation in order to curb these trends to preserve their future workforce."

The e-book is free to download and provides chapters and insights on:

  • Meet the millennials. Understand what makes this generation tick, what they are like as employees and why employers should care.
  • Millennial health. Learn what the Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Health of Millennials Report External Site says about the behavioral and physical conditions affecting millennials and the economic implications of not addressing their health.
  • Health of your workplace. Take a look at the most-requested benefits millennial employees want now and why they want them.
  • Impact of COVID-19. Learn about the lasting impact COVID-19 will have on the millennial generation.
  • Sustainable solutions. Dive into the products and solutions Wellmark offers and how to get the support you need.

There is an added urgency of addressing the health — specifically behavioral health — of this population according to a new Blue Cross Blue Shield report, Millennial Health: Trends in Behavioral Health Conditions External Site. Since 2019, there's been a 12 percent increase in major depression, a 7 percent increase in alcohol use disorder, and a 5 percent increase in both tobacco use disorder and substance use disorder. And, the downward trend over the last six years is even more dramatic. Among millennials since 2014, there has been a 43 percent increase in instances of major depression, a 17 percent increase in substance use disorders, and a 39 percent increase in those diagnosed with ADHD.

"As millennials continue to make up more of the workforce, it's important we engage in conversations together to create a future of better health for this generation," said Gutshall. "This e-book provides the necessary insights, trends and resources for employers to start those conversations and take the first step."