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February 5, 2020 | Value-Based Care
Millennials (adults born between 1981 and 1996) are the largest, most educated and most connected generation in the world. However, Millennials are also seeing their health decline faster than other generations as they age. In other words, this generation is getting sicker quicker.
To be clear, this is not one of those Millennial-bashing blog posts naming yet another industry ruined by Generation Y. On the contrary, this is a focus on trends in healthcare and what you can do to maximize not only your health but also your wallet.
There isn’t one clear answer as to why Millennials are sicker than their parents and grandparents were at the same age, but experts in the healthcare industry have noted several trends:
Cost: A 2019 report from Wolters Kluwer found that Millennials are twice as likely than Baby Boomers to forgo medical care because of costs.
Lifestyle: Many Millennials face higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression compared to other generations, which are often caused by finances, employment and relationships. This not only leads to poor mental health but also poor physical health.
Healthcare preferences: One-third of Millennials don’t have a primary care doctor (but here’s why they should), and 67% only go to the doctor when they have a serious health problem, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. This trend may be, in part, due to the increasing amount of healthcare information online.
Unfortunately, this accelerated decline in health among the Millennial population will result in higher healthcare costs in the future. It’s even estimated that poor health will cost Millennials more than $4,500 per year in annual income. So, here are some tips that can help you reduce your healthcare spending while still getting the care that you need:
#1. Make Preventive Care a Priority.
Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), many insurance providers did not cover routine screenings and preventive care. Now, insurers are required to cover most preventive care services in full. It’s crucial to stay up to date on your routine screenings because that is the best way to detect health problems before they become serious and expensive to treat. Plus, preventive care usually doesn’t cost anything extra to you or your family.
#2. Go To An Urgent Care Instead Of The Emergency Room
Emergency rooms are equipped for life- or limb-threatening emergencies, but a majority of ER visits are for problems that could be safely treated at an urgent care facility. The cost of an ER visit is about 10 times higher than an urgent care, so choosing an urgent care when it’s not life-threatening can save hundreds.
#3. Swap Out Brand-Name Medications for Generics, and Take Your Meds as Prescribed
Generic medications are just as safe and effective as brand-name medications, have the same active ingredients and can cost as much as 80-85% less than brand-name counterparts. Taking your medication as prescribed makes a big difference too. Nonadherence to medication leads to poor health outcomes, and people with poor health tend to need more healthcare services. That means higher costs.
#4. Shop Around for Health Services
There is rarely a standard price for healthcare services, so it pays to shop around. Don’t be afraid to ask different healthcare providers how much a service will cost at their clinic, and choose providers that make a conscious effort to reduce costs.
#5. Choose Outpatient Facilities for Surgery, Lab Work and Imaging Whenever Possible
Outpatient services are a cost-effective alternative to hospitals. Actual savings vary by procedure, but you can often reduce your costs by 50% or more by choosing an outpatient or freestanding facility for surgery, lab work and imaging, according to Cigna claims data.
“The Economic Consequences of Millennial Health.” Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“Mending Healthcare In America 2020: Consumers + Cost.” Wolters Kluwer.
“Millennials Are on Track to Have Worse Health in Middle Age than Their Parents, According to a New Report.” Business Insider.
“Working Towards a Healthier Millennial Generation.” Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.