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Ashley PoynterFeb 185 min read

The truth about Millennial health and wellness

Updated: Jun 25

Millennials have officially outranked baby boomers as the largest living generation. With this title comes other realities of getting older, including signs of new health issues. Millennials are often credited with being more aware of and engaged with their own health and wellness, however, it turns out this may not be as positive as originally estimated. Recent reports estimate that millennials may actually be on the path to having worse health than previous generations as they get older, facing more expensive and life-threatening illnesses.

While this might seem startling for a generation that has, by most accounts, been acutely attuned to matters of health and wellness, it is the reality. The truth is that millennials love the concept of “wellness”, largely driving the $4.2 trillion global market. Between meditation, yoga, pilates, and other wellness initiatives, millennials appear to be engaged. However, their actual health is not on par with other generations. What gives? We take a look at what is motivating millennials when it comes to health and wellness—and how this could impact the generation in the coming years.

Millennials and health care

One recent report showed that about half of millennials go to the doctor less than once per year and the vast majority (93%) reported that they don’t schedule preventative care visits. Just under half (42%) said they are willing to cancel a check-up that conflicts with another priority. One-fifth of the millennials surveyed said they couldn’t afford routine health care expenses and almost half (47%) said that health care costs forced them to cut corners.

Millennials are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to health care. Many members of this generation fall into the gig economy, which means benefits—including health insurance—are not really a thing they have access to. Instead, they prefer to head to walk-in clinics as needed. The whole idea of going to the doctor has seemingly become a thing of the past. In addition to costs, this generation prefers all things (including health care) to be fast, convenient, connected, and have price transparency. Combined, these things have upended the traditional view of health care.

Unintended costs of uncoordinated care

While heading to the walk-in clinic may be cheaper and faster than seeing a primary care doctor, there are other consequences for this trend. For one, it leads to uncoordinated and fragmented care that could actually drive the cost of healthcare up for millennials. One report showed that almost half of patients that went to an urgent care clinic for treatment for a respiratory ailment (cold, flu, or similar illness) left with a prescription for antibiotics that was unnecessary and potentially harmful. Only 17% of patients seen in a traditional doctor’s office found themselves in a similar predicament. Yet with one-third (33%) of millennials reporting that they don’t have a regular doctor, this is the direction things are headed.

With millennials bouncing around to many different types of clinics for treatment, the consequences of lack of continuous care become more pronounced. Finding a doctor that can get to know you is critical to receiving the best care and it’s important to have that person on hand before a health crisis strikes.

New care to serve millennials

Doctor’s offices are not immune to or unaware of this phenomenon. In fact, many are making strides in addressing millennial preferences and concerns when it comes to visiting the doctor. Attracting and retaining millennials and other young adult patients has caused primary-care practices to find new ways of doing business, including hiring more physicians and nurse practitioners. By staffing up, these offices can reduce wait times, which is a big sticking point for millennials.

Many offices are also beefing up technology to better serve millennials. Patients can make appointments via apps on a smartphone and even virtually visit with their doctor online through telemedicine tools.

One of the benefits of working with a primary care doctor is that the focus is on caring for the whole patient. Rather than the “one-off” focus of minute clinics and other retailer health care locations, primary care doctors are keeping tabs on a patient’s big-picture health. This results in better outcomes all around.

Decent: health care for 2020

Decent understands the need for fast, convenient, and technologically-savvy health care options. We understand that patient preferences have shifted—and continue to shift—and we want to help millennials and other generations access the most affordable, comprehensive care possible. That’s why we created our health plans that cater to self-employed individuals—including millennials.

Our plans are built around the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, which encourages members to see a primary care doctor. The incentive? We make it free to see your doctor. What’s more—you can see them via same-day or next-day appointments and we offer virtual visits if you’re in a crunch and can’t make it into the office. Our plans are also open to enroll in year-round, so you don’t have to stress out during a small window about which plan makes sense for you. Perhaps most importantly, our plans run up to 50% below market rates, making them incredibly affordable.

Make your health and wellness a priority in a meaningful way. Get a free quote today.