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3 ways to engage your millennials in health care benefits

Millennials trust social media over their own doctor.

The millennial generation knows a thing or two about the health and wellness industry. After all, they’ve been instrumental in contributing External Site to this $4.2 trillion market. Yes, trillion. You can thank the millennials for things like boutique fitness places, green juice cleanses, and matcha tea lattes.

Though millennials may be far more focused on healthy living than any other generation, they are among the unhealthiest when compared to other generations, according to a Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® Health of America Report® External Site. Despite this, Millennials everywhere are pushing for better benefits, challenging management status quo, and seeking more efficient and convenient ways to use health insurance.

Millennials are shaking up health care — here’s how it could affect you.

It’s no secret: Millennials officially make up half of the workforce in 2020, and this number will only grow year over year.

According to the Health of America Report External Site, only 68 percent of millennials have a primary care physician (PCP) compared to 91 percent of Generation X. PCPs play a key role in preventive care, which means millennials may be missing out on those annual check-ins.

If your millennial employees aren’t taking advantage of developing a personal relationship with their doctor or engaging in preventive care, it can cost them (and you) more money in the long run.

Watch our latest webinar to learn more about millennials, their health and the impact to the productivity of your workplace and associated health care costs.

Consider this scenario to put it all into perspective: Sarah, a healthy, 32-year-old millennial in your workplace has been experiencing extreme fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath lately. This is unusual for her, since she works out five times a week and eats relatively healthy.

Instead of going into see her doctor, Sarah talks with her friends, coworkers, family and maybe even looks on the internet to check out her symptoms.

Millennials are twice as likely as other generations to act on the non-urgent health advice found online External Site, including from sources like social media.

Source: ReferralMD

Sarah can’t find a definitive answer, so she brushes off her symptoms and hopes everything will go away in a week or two. Little does Sarah know she is experiencing symptoms of heart disease — potentially a minor heart attack — which could have been detected, prevented or treated if she scheduled her annual exam.

Instead, Sarah waits until her condition gets worse and is faced with going to urgent care or the emergency room — which in turn can cost Sarah much more and cause more stress.

One in three millennials have a health condition that affects their quality of life.

Source: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health of America Report

Three easy ways to address millennial health care preferences.

Convenience is key.

Millennials are stretched for time. In one corner, you have millennial employees who are starting out in the early stages of their career — maybe balancing multiple jobs just to cover their rent and loan payments. In the other corner, you have millennial parents who work full-time jobs and juggle kids' schedules, which can make it difficult to find time away for an annual exam or checkup.

The problem? Most clinics are only open during prime working hours.

This is where convenience comes into play. If more employers offered on-site clinics, education opportunities or annual shots External Site — for free — millennials would be more likely to engage in health care since it's only a few steps away from their desk. Another option? Employers allowing their employees to take care of these appointments without required paid time off (PTO). Take Rise Structural Inc. for example — they do half-day Fridays to ensure their employees have the opportunity to take care of appointments, such as an annual exam or routine dental and vision check ups.

Easy to use health platforms (and apps).

The millennial generation is no stranger to technology. Millennials want an easy way to schedule and manage appointments without having to call the office (and wait on hold until they reach a representative). Consider these tools and resources to start:

  • myWellmark®. Opens in a new window (Millennial) Employees, meet myWellmark — the one-stop source for all personalized health care information. Your millennial employees can see how closely they are to meet their deductible or out-of-pocket maximums, know what visits will cost before they go, find in-network providers and even see patient ratings of doctors.
  • Doctor On Demand® External Site. According to the American Well's 2019 Consumer Survey, 66 percent of millennials want an option for virtual visits and would choose to use the virtual option over an in-person appointment?
    • Treatment for common illnesses. Opens in a new windown Cold, flu, sore throat, pink eye and more — Doctor On Demand allows your (millennial) employees to speak with an experienced virtual doctor who can treat common conditions and prescribe medications.
    • Mental health Opens in a new window. From anxiety, depression, relationships, trauma and loss and more — your (millennial) employees can chat with a virtual doctor and decide the best course of treatment specific to their unique needs.

Price transparency.

When it comes to money and millennials — it’s complicated. The millennial generation was hit hard by the recession, which is why 23 percent of millennials are still living at home or opting to rent an apartment rather than buy a home. And, let’s not forget the weight of student loan debt they carry (average sits at $30,000 per person External Site).

Can you blame millennials if they are looking for transparency in their health care? According to a recent survey conducted through PNC Healthcare, millennials are twice as likely External Site as seniors and boomers to request cost estimates before undergoing treatment, and often check multiple locations before deciding.

The same survey shows millennials are likely to forgo health care because of the expense and unpredictability. This could be a huge contributor in the reason why one in three millennials suffer from a health condition that affects their quality of life — many of which are preventable.

Take action and stay in-the-know about millennials in your workplace.

At Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we know your business and have insights on your employees that you may not have in-house.

Our team will provide insights, trends, tools and resources, tips and tricks, and health-specific information needed to keep you in-the-know about your millennial employee population. As millennials continue to enter the workplace, it’s important to know how you can keep them happy, healthy and engaged.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.com Send Email.