Healthcare News & Insights

Millennials & hospitals: Addressing their health care, finances

As millennials grow older and need to make decisions about healthcare services, it’s important for your hospital to understand their attitudes toward their health and how they best communicate so you can reach them on their level and treat them effectively. 

When it comes to health problems, millennials are procrastinators. Many will ignore them for a significant period of time until they finally seek medical attention, according to a survey from Harmony Healthcare IT, a data analysis firm.

In fact, 41% of millennials have been putting a health issue on the back burner for over a year.

The longer someone puts off seeking treatment for a health problem, the more likely it is that the issue will progressively get worse – potentially landing the person in the ED. And even after the issue’s been treated, odds are a young person may be reluctant to seek help for a complication or attend follow-up appointments.

While most millennials surveyed by Harmony Healthcare IT (76%) have a primary care physician, they often turn to Dr. Google with their medical concerns. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) find their medical advice online. The most popular sources include WebMD (82%), news articles (27%), YouTube (22%), Reddit (22%) and health apps (18%).

Almost half of them (48%) trust websites, social media and other online resources as an accurate way to diagnose themselves based on their symptoms. However, 93% would still seek a doctor’s advice along with doing their own online research, so it’s key to combine those elements when treating millennials.

To connect with millennials on their level when providing them with healthcare services, a strategy that embraces technology is the way to go. Sending them alerts about necessary follow-ups, medication adherence and even upcoming bills via text message or on a patient portal is the best way to get their attention.

Since they value online health info, it’s also a good idea to offer them medical and treatment info from trusted sources, either through your patient portal or on your hospital’s website. You may even wish to send them links to these sites electronically after they’ve been discharged.

Keeping healthcare costs affordable

Cost is also a factor impacting millennials and their attitude toward health care. Almost 60% prefer high-deductible health insurance plans with lower premiums. While this lowers the amount they pay for insurance each paycheck, it also means they’ll face higher balances if they’re admitted to the hospital.

And they may struggle with paying off their medical bills. Only 35% set aside savings for medical emergencies, and of those who are saving, 51% are only putting aside less than $100 a month.

As a way to balance millennials’ preference for keeping costs low and hospitals’ need to preserve the bottom line, facilities should offer these patients flexible, convenient options for paying their bills.

A payment plan is one option to explore. Another is allowing them to settle their balances via credit card, PayPal or Apple Pay instead of checks or cash. The easier you make it for millennials to pay, the more likely they’ll be to do so.

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