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How Different Generations Engage in Health Care: New Report Provides Insights

March 26, 2018

An online survey about consumer-driven health care reveals that Millennials are more satisfied than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers with many aspects of their health care coverage. Younger consumers are selecting more nontraditional ways of engaging with health care. Baby Boomers are more likely to have a primary care provider and share more health history with them.

The Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) survey was conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates between August 10, and September 1, 2017. The related issue brief focuses on the differences in consumer engagement in health care by generational groups––Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965), Gen Xers (born between 1966 and 1976), and Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000).

Employers want to understand engagement to help them develop plan designs and workforce health and wellness initiatives, especially for Millennials, who are the largest group and tend to have more spending power. Health care providers can benefit from findings as they work to provide quality and price transparency and telemedicine and technology-related options.

Findings:

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965)

  • Higher health coverage satisfaction rates
  • Happier with access to and quality of care
  • More likely to have primary care provider and to share health history directly with PCP
  • Telemedicine options less important
  • Checks a doctor’s or hospital’s rating before making a health care decision (31%)
  • Uses cost tracking before making a health care decision (10%)

Gen Xers (born between 1966 and 1976)

  • Prefer an insurance plan with lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs
  • Rated having telemedicine options important
  • More likely to use a walk-in clinic
  • More active health savings account investors, empowers better health care decisions
  • Checks a doctor’s or hospital’s rating before making a health care decision (34%)
  • Uses cost tracking before making a health care decision (17%)

Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000)

  • Higher health coverage satisfaction rates/ out-of-pocket costs and health plan choices
  • Happier with access to and quality of care
  • Rated having telemedicine options important
  • More likely to use a walk-in clinic
  • Highest rate of wellness program participation
  • Checks a doctor’s or hospital’s rating before making a health care decision (51%)
  • Uses cost tracking before making a health care decision (28%)
  • More active health savings account investors

These types of consumer behavior reports help to influence health literacy and transparency initiatives, insurance plans offerings, and health and wellness opportunities.

The CEHCS is co-sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates, with support from seven private organizations. More than 3,560 adults ages 21−64, who had health insurance provided through an employer, purchased directly from a carrier, or purchased through a government exchange, participated in the survey.

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