US Millennials Face Worse Health Than Previous Generations
The health of US millennials is declining faster as they age than that of the previous generation, resulting in this younger cohort facing 33% higher treatment costs, according to a new study from American healthcare insurer BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS). Brands have a role to play in addressing the issue by empowering patients with education.
Without medical intervention, millennial (aged 25 to 38) mortality rates could climb by more than 40%, compared to Gen X (aged 39-54) at the same age. This is due to a rise in adverse physical and behavioural conditions, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and depression. Consequently, the treatment for millennials’ top 10 health conditions is set to increase from 2019’s $1.4bn, to a staggering $2.2bn in the next decade.
The impact this is having on the US economy is significant. More than 18% of American GDP is already spent on patient care (the highest in the developed world), and the country’s over-burdened healthcare system will only face more pressure as millennial health worsens. This generation also accounts for 35% of the US workforce. Their missed days due to illness will not only negatively impact the economy, but also result in the personal loss of up to $4,500 a year in income.
The report’s findings were based on the BCBS Health Index, published earlier this year. According to the index, general health begins to decline from the age of 27, and a third of millennials suffer from a health condition which reduces their quality of living and life expectancy. The findings are surprising, given millennials’ focus on practising self-care (see Serving the Self-Care Generation) and positively perceived wellbeing – according to the BCBS index, 83% of this cohort consider themselves to be in ‘excellent’ health.
Brands have the opportunity to step in and educate millennials on their health reality, helping to close the knowledge gap and streamline services offering preventative care.
To understand how to reach these at-risk millennial healthcare consumers, see Empowering Future Patients, part of our recent Spotlight Trend The Healthcare Opportunity. For ways to integrate healthcare and wellbeing into patients’ lives more effectively, see Wellness/Healthcare Hybrids in our report 10 Wellness Trends to Watch.