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The Generational Divide: Millennials and Health Insurance

millennials and health insurance

Millennial workers (defined as born 1977-2000) view and use health benefits very differently than their baby boomer (1946-1965) and gen X (1966-1976) colleagues.

According to the 2015 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, millennials are generally very well-informed about their options. They also report higher levels of satisfaction with health care choices and the financial aspects of their plans. Millennials are more actively engaged in picking out a health care plan and making cost-conscious decisions. They are also more likely to engage in healthy behaviors (except smoking).

“We find profound difference in how Millennials deal with health issues and health coverage than their older colleagues at work,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Education and Research program, and co-author of the report. “It’s no surprise that employers are interested in the role of millennials in the labor force. It’s important for employers to understand differences in generational cohorts to better adapt to a changing workforce.”

Here are a few of the survey findings:

  • Out of the three generations, millennials exercised more and are more apt to have a normal weight. However, they are more likely to smoke.
  • 47% of millennials think that using a medical savings account (HRA/HSA/FSA) to save money for future medical expenses is important.
  • Being engaged and making informed health care choices is important to millennials. When millennials choose a health insurance plan, they will visit the insurance company website to learn about their plan (64%), discuss plan options with consultant/broker (35%), attend benefits meeting/s (43%) and talk to friends, colleagues and family about health care choices (52%).
  • Millennials are more likely to make cost-conscious decisions such as researching a doctor/hospital (49%), finding cost information (77%), developing a budget to manage health care expenses (35%), talking to a doctor about treatment options and cost (42%) and asking the doctor to recommend a less costly prescription drug (42%).
  • According to the survey, most millennials are happy with the current health plan choices offered by their employer. They reported that:
    • The offered health plans were affordable (54%)
    • They could easily select a plan (62%)
    • Information was available to help them understand the plans (59%)

Knowing the different values, expectations and experiences each generation has for making future health care plan decisions may help school, city and county employers adapt to the ever changing workforce.


National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Valerie Ortiz

Valerie Ortiz

Over the past 20 years, Valerie Ortiz has worn many hats at National Insurance Services. She currently heads up NIS’ Marketing Team where she helps to create and execute employee benefit communications based upon our public sector clients’ needs. Valerie brings order to the chaos and has a zeal for detail and a talent for organization.