Marketers: What do Millennials Want from Your Healthcare System?

March 20, 2015 - Health Care - Tiffany Vogel - Senior Copywriter

These days, everyone is trying to figure out what Millennials want – tech companies, the fashion industry, employers and more. Name an industry and odds are they’re trying to crack the “marketing to Millennials” code. And with good reason.

As was mentioned in my last blog, according to research done by the Center for Marketing Research at UMass Dartmouth, Millennials have an estimated combined purchasing power of $2.45 trillion worldwide. (Cue the cash register “ca-ching” sound effect in your heads.) That’s a lot of spending dollars.

Our healthcare system needs those Millennials (and those dollars) to continue to provide a high standard of care. After all, Millennials are helping subsidize Boomers when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. So it should go without saying that failing to deliver on Millennials’ needs could have significant consequences on several levels.

So, what do they want? Well, when it comes to health care, some of the things Millennials want seem par for the course. But others might surprise you. Let’s take a look.

It’s about staying healthy.

Millennials tend to be untrusting. Especially when it comes to institutions. Many of them think the current healthcare system is flawed – too focused on making money by treating the sick and less focused on prevention. That said, they want a healthcare solution that embraces (both financially and emotionally) holistic medicine, encourages organic foods and clean living and respects the mind-body connection.

In fact, a recent study by Communispace shows just how embracing of this mentality Millennials are. The study found 27% have used a health or fitness app in the past year, 49% consider maintaining a work/life balance to be part of staying healthy and 55% agree that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body.

Now, contrast that with the finding that less than half consider getting regular medical and dental checkups – or having health insurance – to be part of maintaining their overall wellness, and you gain some interesting perspective into what Millennials prioritize and where they place their trust.

They expect accessibility.

According to an annual survey by Xerox, Millennials – a mobile generation – are more likely to report the highest preference in accessing patient portals on the go (43% on smartphones). They’re also more interested in accessing their medical records (57%) than any other content via online patient portals. They want to be able to view personalized recommendations on how to improve their health (44%). They want information about additional services from their doctor (44%) and they want industry news about health topics of interest to them (23%). In other words, they want to take an active role in their health care. And they expect the system to provide the tools they need to do so.

So, be open. Be transparent. And give them what they need in an easily digestible and accessible format.

They want lower deductibles and higher premiums. Really.

Given everything we seem to know about Millennials – their focus on prevention, the idea that the current healthcare system is focused more on treating the elderly and sick than people their age without children, that they consider themselves more invincible than not – it comes as a bit of a surprise (to me at least) that a recent survey from Bankrate found 46% of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 would rather have a plan with a high monthly premium and a low deductible.

Why this way of thinking? “Turns out the ‘young invincibles’ don’t feel so invincible after all,” says Christina Postolowski, health policy manager at a youth advocacy group, in a recent Money magazine article. “Millennials are risk-averse and concerned about their out-of-pocket costs if something happens to them.” That’s likely because many Millennials have little to no savings to speak of, due in part to student loan debt.

So, there you go. A few insights into what Millennials are looking for in a healthcare system. The lesson? Never judge a book by its cover. Expand your offerings and really get to know your target audience. This will hold true no matter who your audience is.

Are you a Millennial? Do you have other ideas about what Millennials are looking for? Please share.

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