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Millennials are struggling with rising healthcare costs — and looking to their employers for a solution

Survey results show that millennials are more concerned than other age groups about paying for basic care.

Olivia Marcus
By Olivia Marcus on April 26, 2019

Olivia is on the marketing team at Amino, where she helps get the word out about Amino. Connect with Olivia Marcus on LinkedIn

Premiums, deductibles, and the cost of healthcare are all increasing year over year, and young Americans are feeling the strain. How are they faring? And where are they looking for help?

In 2017, we turned to opinion research firm Ipsos to get a read on millennials' current financial outlook as well as their response to rising healthcare costs. This year, we're revisiting those findings for employers interested in better supporting their millennial employees.

73% of millennials want to lower their healthcare costs, but don't know how

Healthcare costs weigh heavy on Americans' minds and wallets — especially millennials (in this survey, aged 18-34). Here's what we found about millennials' outlook on rising healthcare costs.

  • They are more concerned than other age groups about paying for basic care. 29% of millennials said they were concerned, compared to 18% of adults age 35-54 and 9% of adults age 55+.
  • One in four avoid medical bills by skipping the doctor. 27% report that they avoid medical bills by forgoing healthcare and/or visits to the doctor.
  • Not all are planning for routine healthcare costs. 50% said they have received a medical bill they didn't budget for.
  • They'd like to lower their healthcare costs, but don't know how. Nearly three out of four (73%) millennials reported wanting to lower their healthcare costs, but not knowing how. Fewer expressed this sentiment in older age groups — only 67% of adults age 35-53 and 53% of adults age 55+.
  • They want more information on healthcare costs. This is the age group that feels most strongly that their insurance provider doesn't offer enough information about healthcare costs. 57% of millennials expressed this sentiment, compared to only 52% of adults age 35-53 and 40% of adults age 55+.

Millennials are looking for more guidance and convenience

The data shows that millennials are seeking out technology, benefits tools, and external resources that can help them navigate rising healthcare costs.

  • They want to comparison shop. 69% said they'd rather comparison shop on their own than take recommendations from family and friends, marking a departure from earlier generations' reliance on word of mouth over data.
  • Many want to take control of their own spending. 42% said they have at some point created a budget and/or use budget tracking apps. 
  • They're not currently asking for help. Only 10% said they ask their employer for help understanding benefits. Similarly, only 10% said they would try to negotiate an expensive medical bill.
  • Those who have insurance through their employer are more committed to taking control of their own healthcare expenses. Only 12% of all millennials said they would contribute to an HSA or FSA, ­but this number jumps to 20% for those who receive insurance through their employer.

3 ways employers can help support their millennial employees

Young, working-age Americans are future-minded and digitally savvy, but when it comes to healthcare, they're seeking more guidance.

Tools and resources that help them find high value care and save money are a necessary part of a comprehensive benefits package — especially for companies that are trying to attract new talent.

So, what can you do to engage and support your millennial employees?

  • Offer a healthcare financial wellness benefit. First generation healthcare transparency tools fell flat for a reason: they weren't helpful. 73% still don't know how to lower their healthcare costs, and 57% want more information. Today's employees don't want to be bombarded with unhelpful information. They want guidance and convenience (and that's where Amino can come in).
  • Help employees take advantage of their HSA. Many millennial employees are on a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and are eligible for a health savings account (HSA), but don't take advantage of it. One of the best ways to get employees engaged is by seeding their HSA and making sure it's integrated with your other benefits.
  • Use open enrollment as an education opportunity. Research shows that 96% of Americans can't correctly define what a deductible, co­pay, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximum are — and less than half say they're very confident that they can choose the right insurance plan. Education is always a challenge, but new millennial-friendly tools like Alex can help.

Survey methodology

These are the findings from two Ipsos polls. The first survey was conducted February 23 - 24, 2017 on behalf of Amino. For that survey, a sample of 1,006 U.S. adults over the age of 18 was interviewed online, in English. The second survey conducted July 14 - 18, 2017 on behalf of Amino and Earnest. For the survey, a sample of 1,013 adults between the ages of 22-37 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of lpsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents surveyed. 

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