What Do Millennials Want From Health Reform?

New survey from Oliver Wyman and FORTUNE Knowledge Group offers detailed look into healthcare preferences of millennials and sheds light on how policymakers and the industry could lure this key consumer segment to the individual insurance market.

June 8, 2017 (New York) – Senate Republicans are meeting this week to hash out their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  While the senators are expected to soften some aspects of the House bill, likely to remain untouched are those sections that are favorable to younger healthcare consumers. That’s because attracting young and healthy enrollees – the so-called young invincibles – is vital for a sustainable risk pool. And so understanding their unique healthcare preferences is especially vital at this moment.

A new survey, “Complexity and Opportunity: A Survey of US Health Consumers’ Worries and Wants” from consulting firm Oliver Wyman and FORTUNE Knowledge Group reveals what these young adults think about their current healthcare experience, and sheds light on how the healthcare system could better meet their needs. “For the past few years, healthcare companies and policymakers have been striving to craft consumer health strategies, but they have done so with a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Sam Glick, partner in the Health & Life Sciences practice of Oliver Wyman and co-author of the report. “Understanding how different generations – and millennials, in particular – want to interact with the healthcare system will allow us to develop more relevant products and solutions. And that will lead to an improved healthcare experience for all.” 

Key findings:

  • The survey found that millennials are the age group most open to new healthcare offers—nearly half have a high degree of interest in new products and services.

  • Like everything in this Amazon-powered world, they see healthcare as a shoppable service.

  • Millennials are more willing to interact through new channels and technologies than older generations.

  • But it’s not only digital bells and whistles they want. Of the top six services that millennials say they are interested in, three have to do with in-person advice and social support—not technology.

  • Millennials are three times more likely than boomers to want consultation with patient advocates.

  • Interest in new healthcare offers is highest among millennials with chronic diseases (60 percent have a high degree of interest). This suggests that as millennials age and more of them develop lifestyle diseases, the demand for new services could expand dramatically.

“As millennials age and have increasing contact with the healthcare system, they will form connections with the organizations that provide the right offerings and support,” says Helen Leis, partner in the Health & Life Sciences practice of Oliver Wyman and co-author of the report. “There is now real opportunity to tailor offerings and create with millennials the sort of emotional connection that is at the heart of loyalty.”

Additional survey highlights:

The survey also reveals the preferences and concerns of baby boomers, caregivers, and people with chronic disease. Key findings include:

  • When it comes to paying for add-on services or products, respondents of all ages are most interested in convenience-related services, such as same-day appointments and home visits.

  • Baby boomers are the generation most satisfied with their current healthcare experience. However, they also are the most pessimistic about the future. Just 21 percent think their care will get better over the next five years.

  • While they are less open to new products and services than millennials, solutions that address boomers’ specific concerns (e.g., fear of losing mobility) could break through their hesitations.

  • Family caregivers—people who say they are responsible for the care of someone else—are far more likely to be interested in extra healthcare services, such as access to medical professionals via a 24-hour help line or home computer, than those who are not caregivers.

About the survey

The online questionnaire was fielded in the US in October and November 2016, gathering 2,016 responses. The people polled all have insurance coverage, ranging from government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to those who are self-insured or insured through an employer or union. There is a cross-section of ages, including 25 percent who are Millennials, 26 percent Gen-X, 40 percent Baby Boomers and 10 percent born in 1945 or earlier. There are almost equal numbers of men and women. A third of the respondents live in households with annual income of $75,000 and above. Twenty-three percent have household income of $50,000 to $75,000. The types of household run the gamut from people living alone to families with children. Two important segments of the population were polled: 54 percent are caregivers and 37 percent have a chronic health condition that requires regular treatment. The latter group of 750 was asked which medical condition they have from a list of 16, eliciting 1,885 responses, including 171 “Other, please specify.”

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 50+ cities across nearly 30 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 4,500 professionals around the world who help clients optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com. Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

About FORTUNE Knowledge Group

FORTUNE Knowledge Group (FKG), a subsidiary of Time Inc., a leading global media company, develops unique editorial content for senior executives. FKG works with global brands to create ground breaking thought leadership that predicts and shapes the future of business. Along with industry insights, FKG drives creative and distribution initiatives intended to deliver the message to the corporate leaders seeking fresh, useful business ideas.