Meeting Millennials’ needs (and wants)

Millennials are coming of age. They comprise one-third of today’s workforce, with more Millennials on the job than Gen X’er or baby boomers, according to a Pew Research report. Their needs — and their preferences — have a growing influence on the way health insurance and health care are delivered.

Millennials are generally defined as those born from 1982 to 1994. Ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-30s, they include entry-level employees and rising young stars in management roles.

In a nutshell, they are the business leadership of the future.

Hidden health concerns

Insurance carriers often refer to the “young and healthy” Millennial population, but in reality this age group faces a host of current medical needs and future risks.

According to a survey by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, 54 percent say they have been diagnosed with a chronic illness and 28 percent are on medication. Their most common concerns are depression, being overweight and anxiety disorders. Stress is often a contributing factor to health issues.

Contraceptive coverage also continues to be a priority; 58 percent of Millennials believe employers should provide it at no cost.

Not your grandfather’s health insurance

Millennials grew up with technology, so they consume and share information differently than their older coworkers. And they place a very high value on a work-life balance, which puts a new spin on health care benefits.

Consider these five priorities when designing your benefit plan:

  1. To please Millennials, look for benefit plans that stay on the digital cutting edge. This is an opportunity to rethink the enrollment experience, communication strategies and the actual delivery of health care services.
  2. Millennials expect to be in charge of their own destiny, so it helps to offer options, letting them “shop” for the benefits they prefer. (Think like Amazon, with side-by-side comparisons, product reviews and a “shopping cart” for purchases.) Also consider offering holistic options that meet their lifestyle needs.
  3. Although Millennials may find discussions about copays and coinsurance to be tedious, they generally are unfamiliar with the insurance terminology and how their coverage works. Online tools can help.
  4. Mobile apps. Look for a carrier with a Smartphone app that lets beneficiaries access their plan information the same way they read the news and stay in touch with friends.
  5. Seek out plans that don’t rely on traditional methods of delivering care. A Salesforce 2016 Connected Patient Report found that 60 percent of Millennials prefer a primary care doctor that offers a patient app for scheduling appointments, billing and health data. They also prefer online chats over traditional phone calls. More than half of Millennials expect their doctor to offer virtual care treatment options.

As the number of Millennials in the workforce continues to grow, designing benefits plans around their needs and preferences can contribute to business success.

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