Millennials most likely to rely on mom for health info

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A new survey commissioned by the American non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) in Los Angeles, Calif.,  shows the percentage of uninsured millennials has declined to 11 percent – an all-time low for this population – however, more than half of millennials (54 percent) have been diagnosed with a health condition. The most common health conditions that millennials are facing include depression (17 percent), weight issues (15 percent overweight and 7 percent obesity) and anxiety disorders (14 percent).

This study, conducted in March through April 2016, by Harris Poll found that among 1,171 adults ages 18-36:

  • The percentage of uninsured millennials has steadily declined from a high of 23 percent in 2013, while the percentage of millennials who are insured privately, not through an employer or publicly has increased since 2014.
  • African Americans and Latino millennials are the least likely to be insured (15 percent and 17 percent respectively are uninsured). Very few Asian/Pacific Islander millennials are uninsured (3 percent).
  • A majority of the uninsured are women (60 percent) and unemployed (68 percent).
  • Uninsured millennials are significantly less likely than insured millennials to say they are in excellent or good health (62 percent vs. 79 percent, a 17 percentage point gap).
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Healthcare Decision-Making and Affordability
Among millennials who rely on family/friends for health information, their mother or step-mother (64 percent) prominently outranks any other family member, including dad or step-father (36 percent). Further, 26 percent of millennials rely on their spouse, partner or significant other.

One survey respondent, Mindy Hanson, who is age 32 and a stay-at-home mom from Des Moines, Iowa, leans heavily on her mom, who is in the insurance industry, as her primary source of health information. She goes straight to her mom with all insurance-related questions and any medical issues concerning her children.

“We have seen health initiatives using mother figures as the hook, such as the Massachusetts Exchange healthcare campaign and other health groups encouraging parents to talk to their adult children about healthcare choices. Our study confirms this approach may work since moms still top the list for millennials,” saidHector De La Torre, Executive Director of Transamerica Center for Health Studies.

When asked what characteristics of the healthcare system today are most important to them, millennials’ most common response is being able to afford the care they need (37 percent). Seven in ten millennials say cost is a very important factor when looking for healthcare. Sixty-six percent of millennials feel a premium at or above$200 per month is unaffordable and nearly half (47percent) of millennials admit to minimizing healthcare costs by skipping care.

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“The price of insurance today is crazy and it just keeps rising,” said Paul Yeager, age 30, a special education teacher in Washington D.C. “We pay for the most basic health plan and it’s almost $200 every pay period, plus co-pay costs keep increasing.”

Disease Prevention Knowledge Compared to Insurance Smarts
More millennials feel informed about how to prevent disease than the health insurance options available to them. Only 27 percent of millennials are very informed about the health insurance options available to them, while 35 percent are very informed about how to prevent disease.

“Fewer than four in ten millennials have comparison shopped for insurance,” said De La Torre. “Going the extra mile to research resources that help break down insurance options and costs can pay off in making better healthcare choices for you and your pocket.”

Other key findings from the TCHS millennial healthcare study include:

  • Uninsured millennials most likely did not obtain coverage before the ACA deadline because they didn’t know how to apply. Four out of the five top reasons for not obtaining coverage before the ACA deadline related to millennials being uninformed or unaware.
  • Looking ahead, 16 percent of millennials overall and 47 percent of uninsured millennials do not plan on having insurance in 2017. The most common reason millennials (47 percent) are not planning to purchase insurance is due to affordability.
  • About one in five (21 percent) millennials cannot afford their routine healthcare expenses. An additional 26 percent say they can afford it but with difficulty.
  • More than a quarter (28 percent) of millennials do not have a primary care provider. More than a third (37 percent) of millennials would like to see one doctor who coordinates their care across doctors/providers, while nearly the same percentage (36 percent) would like to see individual doctors/providers as they need them.
  • Visits to doctor’s offices are most common among millennials – 70 percent have visited a doctor’s office in the past year and 47 percent have had blood drawn for analysis. Less than a quarter have visited a walk-in retail clinic or urgent care center – PRNewswire
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