Regardless of age, more consumers are shopping around for health care and doing their homework before receiving services. Here is a quick rundown of how different generations are making decisions about health care, and what we can learn from each of them.
Millennials (born 1981–1996)
The largest group of health consumers out there, millennials are unique in that they are the first generation to grow up in the digital age. They are more likely to:
- Check online reviews of doctors and other health care providers before receiving care
- Embrace mobile technology, and use a virtual doctor, such as Doctor On Demand® External Site
Advice: Choose a personal doctor
Studies show 37 percent of millennials don’t have an established relationship with a personal doctor (also known as a primary care physician). A personal doctor is the go-to person for preventive care and is associated with better overall health and lower hospital and emergency use.
Generation X (born 1965–1980)
Gen-Xer’s are the first generation of true health consumers, meaning they are the first to shop for health care in much the same way they shop for other goods and services. They are more likely to:
- Have an established relationship with a personal doctor
- Care for young children, adult children, and/or their parents
Advice: Schedule preventive exams
While they may agree prevention is an important part of health care, Gen X’ers often find themselves too busy to make it a priority. In fact, only half have had an annual physical in the past five years, and a third of Gen X’ers avoid going to the doctor out of fear of finding something wrong.
Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)
They didn’t grow up online, but baby boomers have embraced technology and are open to new ways of connecting with their doctors. Baby boomers are more likely to:
- Have an annual physical and stay on top of preventive care
- Live with a chronic condition, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease
Advice: Manage chronic conditions
More than 60 percent of baby boomers have already been diagnosed External Site with at least one chronic health condition. Now, it’s particularly important to advocate for care by understanding medical treatments, medications and risks.
The Silent Generation (born 1928–1945)
People age 75 are typically enrolled in Medicare, and often, a Medicare supplement and Part D prescription drug plan. This generation is more likely to:
- Closely follow their doctors’ recommendations and rely heavily on them for health information and referrals
- Take multiple prescription medication
- Require an inpatient hospital stay or emergency room visit
Advice: Stay on top of medications
4 tips for all ages
- Choose a personal doctor. Whether your plan requires it or not, choosing a personal doctor will help coordinate your care and ensure your health is the best it can be.
- Don’t skimp on preventive care. It’s always better to take care of a health condition early, before it becomes more serious.
- Have a pharmacy home. To help avoid potential drug interactions, it’s best to have one place — a pharmacy home — where you develop a relationship with a pharmacist you trust.
- Register or log in to myWellmark® Opens New Window. You’ll find all your personalized benefit information, plus help choosing the right health providers. You can also download the Wellmark app Opens New Window on your mobile device to track your benefits, find providers, access your ID card and more.
Two tools to use
Keep the number Eight, Four, Four, Eight, Four, Be Well handy for getting fast answers to your health questions, day or night. BeWell 24/7 is available at no cost to most Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members.
Doctor On Demand
A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand® is a benefit covered by many Wellmark plans. It allows you to stay put at home while you visit a doctor face-to-face via your smartphone, tablet or laptop. To see if you have coverage, log in to myWellmark Opens New Window.
- PewResearch.org — Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins External Site
- Forbes.com — 6 Expectations Millennials Have For Their Healthcare External Site
- Wheel.com — Master Guide to Telehealth Statistics for 2019 External Site
- Statnews.com — Look to Generation X to see the future of health care External Site
- Businesswire.com — Health and Longevity Not So Much a Reality for Generation X External Site
- MiamaHerald.com — They hate doctors. They don’t exercise enough. But they want to live forever External Site
- Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov — Challenges and Opportunities with Empowering Baby Boomers for Personal Health Information Management Using Consumer Health Information Technologies: an Ecological Perspective External Site
- PewResearch.org — Older Adults and Technology Use External Site
- Ipsos.com — Six in Ten Gen Xers Would Sign a Contract Guaranteeing They Live to See Their 100th Birthday Opens PDF
Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat conditions or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.
For plans that include benefits for mental health treatment, Doctor On Demand benefits may include treatment for certain psychological conditions, emotional issues and chemical dependency. Services performed by Doctor On Demand psychologists are covered. For more information, call Wellmark at the number on your ID card.
Doctor On Demand by Included Health is a separate company providing an online telehealth solution for Wellmark members. Doctor On Demand® is a registered mark of Doctor On Demand, Inc.