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Help your workforce choose (and use) a primary care physician

Preventive care plays an important role in your employees overall health and well-being. However, seeking preventive care during the coronavirus pandemic may look different than it has before. Encourage your employees to contact their provider or visit their website before attending appointments to learn about special procedures that might be in place.

Like most generations, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center External Site) have a different perspective on the world, the products and ideas around them.

For example, millennials like External Site food trucks, coffee, seltzer, selfies, socially conscientious companies and streaming services. As far as their dislikes External Site, there's golf, bar soap, paper napkins, cable TV, fabric softener, department stores and designer handbags.

When it comes to their health care, millennials also have a different perspective.

For example, according to Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® (BCBS) Health of America report External Site only 63 percent of millennials have a primary care provider (PCP Opens in a new window). This means 37 percent are without consistent access to preventive care. In comparison, only 9 percent of Gen Xers don’t have a PCP.

Why don't millennials have a PCP?

You might think millennials steer clear of a PCP because they are young, and therefore healthy. However, the report points to a different story. The health of millennials is a serious issue. In fact, once a millennial hits age 27, they see a decline in their health Opens in a new window.

They have a higher rate of physical disorders driven by cardiovascular and endocrine conditions (e.g., diabetes), making them unhealthier than their Generation X counterparts Opens in a new window. According to the report, 6 of the top-10 conditions affecting millennials are behavioral conditions impacting mental and emotional well-being.

With the health issues millennials (several being preventive conditions) face, they would benefit from an established relationship with a PCP. So, why do so many not have one? One primary reason is because millennials value convenience and connectivity over relationships External Site. Their generation has been so fundamentally rewired by the digital age, they tend to trust social media over their own doctor. Millennials are also more likely to access medical advice online or read blogs on health-related matters, instead of consulting with a trusted medical professional. And, rather than wait to see a physician, they prefer immediate care from a virtual doctor or a retail clinic.

Why it matters for your millennial employees to have a PCP

Without a PCP, there are several hurdles your millennial employees may need to clear before they can receive certain health care services. For example, they may need a referral from a PCP before they can get specialty care, such as physical therapy. Having a PCP makes refilling prescriptions easier, get a routine physical, and a host of other medical services.

When medical care is needed, a PCP is a millennial's go-to person for most non-urgent situations. When they establish a relationship with a PCP, an important piece of their health care is put into place:

  • A PCP can take a deep dive into medical conditions and personal, family medical history.
  • A PCP knows about all current medications, stress levels, personal health habits, and other vital information.
  • A PCP provides important preventive exams and screenings to detect health problems before they become serious.
  • A PCP gets to know a person's values, beliefs and preferences.
  • A PCP can deliver better health outcomes Opens in a new window.

A big part of having a PCP is about getting the preventive care Opens in a new window your millennial employees need. A study External Site published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that adults with a PCP were significantly more likely to fill more prescriptions and to have a routine preventive visit in the past year. They were also significantly more likely to receive more high-value care such as cancer screenings, including colorectal cancer screenings and mammographies.

When your millennial employees have a personal doctor they know and trust Opens in a new window, they’ll also be more likely to:

  • Schedule appointments when needed.
  • Speak openly and honestly about health concerns.
  • Listen to advice and follow through on treatment.
  • Manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression.
  • Make an informed decision about whether to go to the hospital.
  • Find the right specialty care.

What’s more, most PCPs belong to practices that offer secure patient portals Opens in a new window. This online tool makes it easy for patients to schedule appointments, get lab reports, find medical records and pay bills. Plus, you can use the patient portal to send non-urgent messages to your PCP, possibly reducing the need for a face-to-face visit.

Choosing a PCP: Your go-to guide

Choosing a PCP is a difficult and important decision. Wellmark makes it easier for you to find the information you need. Simply log in or register for myWellmark® Opens in a new window, our secure member website, and you will have access to a variety of resources you can use to guide your decision. Share this free downloadable guide PDF File with your employees. It will help them choose a PCP, and will provide them with down-to-earth guidance for the first office visit.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at Send Email.