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Millennials are concerned about rising healthcare costs—and are looking for a solution

rising healthcare costs

Premiums, deductibles, and the cost of healthcare are all increasing year over year, and young Americans are feeling the strain. How are they faring? And what are they looking to for help?

We turned to opinion research firm Ipsos to get a read on millennials’ current financial outlook as well as their response to rising healthcare costs. These findings can be insightful for employers interested in helping their employees manage the increasing burden of healthcare costs.

Millennials’ outlook on healthcare costs

We conducted a survey earlier this year with Ipsos that found that healthcare costs in particular weigh heavy on Americans’ minds and wallets. As for younger Americans (in this survey, aged 18-34):

  • They are more concerned than other age groups about paying for basic care. 29% of millennials said they were concerned, compared to 18% of adults age 35-54 and 9% of adults age 55+.

  • One in four avoid medical bills by skipping the doctor. 27% report that they avoid medical bills by forgoing healthcare and/or visits to the doctor.

  • Not all are planning for routine healthcare costs. 50% said they have received a medical bill they didn’t budget for.

  • They’d like to lower their healthcare costs, but don’t know how. Nearly three out of four (73%) reported wanting to lower their healthcare costs, but not knowing how. Fewer expressed this sentiment in older age groups—only 67% of adults age 35-53 and 53% of adults age 55+.

  • They want more information on healthcare costs. This is the age group that feels most strongly that their insurance provider doesn’t offer enough information about healthcare costs. 57% of millennials expressed this sentiment, compared to only 52% of adults age 35-53 and 40% of adults age 55+.

What millennials are looking for

In our most recent survey, conducted in partnership with lending company Earnest, we found that millennials are seeking out technology, benefits tools, and external resources that could help navigate rising healthcare costs.

  • They want to comparison shop. 69% said they’d rather comparison shop on their own than take recommendations from family and friends, marking a departure from earlier generations’ reliance on word of mouth over data.

  • Many want to take control of their own spending. 42% said they have at some point created a budget and/or use budget tracking apps.

  • They're not currently asking for help. Only 10% said they ask their employer for help understanding benefits. Similarly, only 10% said they would try to negotiate an expensive medical bill.

  • Those who have insurance through their employer are more committed to taking control of their own healthcare expenses. Only 12% of all millennials said they would contribute to a HSA or FSA—but this jumps to 20% for those who report receiving insurance through their employer.

What this means for employers

Young, working-age Americans are future-minded and digitally savvy, but when it comes to healthcare, they’re seeking more guidance on cost and planning. Tools and resources that help them estimate costs, find high value care, and save money are needed as part of a comprehensive benefits package—especially for companies that are trying to attract new talent.

So, what can you do to engage and support these millennial employees?

  • Offer a decision support tool. First generation healthcare transparency tools fell flat for a reason: they weren’t helpful. 73% still don’t know how to lower their healthcare costs, and 57% want more information. That’s where Amino Plus comes in. With features that automatically highlight the lowest cost, highest quality care for whatever you’re searching for, Amino Plus is the most advanced guidance tool on the market. Check it out here for more information.

  • Direct employees to price transparency content. We have a whole collection of blog posts that explain how much the most common procedures and services cost—from vaccines to bunion surgery and contraception. Your employees can access all this content (for free!) right where they’re searching for it: on Google. Or, you can direct them to our whole collection of information here.

  • Use open enrollment as an education opportunity. Research shows that 96% of Americans can’t correctly define what a deductible, co-pay, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximum are—and only 40% say they’re very confident that they can choose the right insurance plan. Help your employees take charge of their healthcare and understand how they can save by sharing a few educational resources during open enrollment. Here are some of our favorites:

More insights from our survey

In addition to healthcare costs, our survey uncovered key themes around what millennials consider to be the financial milestones of adulthood, how confident they feel in achieving those benchmarks, and their progress so far. Check out our full infographic below.

how millennials are adulting

Survey methodologies

These are the findings from two Ipsos polls. The first survey was conducted February 23 - 24, 2017 on behalf of Amino. For that survey, a sample of 1,006 U.S. adults over the age of 18 was interviewed online, in English. The second survey conducted July 14 - 18, 2017 on behalf of Amino and Earnest. For the survey, a sample of 1,013 adults between the ages of 22-37 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.

The sample for theses studies was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents (see link below for more info on Ipsos online polling “Credibility Intervals”). Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,013, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0).