Open enrollment season is underway for most health plans and with millennials representing America’s largest living generation, the acquisition success of many payers will be based on how well they addressed the current healthcare state of millennials.
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to informing the national healthcare conversation through research and analysis, conducted a 2016 survey of 1,171 US millennial adults born between 1980 and 1997, titled “Young Adults’ Healthcare Reality.” The study looked to evaluate millennials’ experiences with health insurance and their plans for health and wellness in the future in an effort to guide the dialogue on healthcare policy and offer payers insight into opportunities for millennial outreach improvement.
The payers who will be successful in gaining new millennial business this season or next will have considered the following three factors that the TCHS report revealed:
1. Affordability is the most important characteristic of healthcare.
When asked what characteristics of the healthcare system today are most important to them, the most common response by far was being able to afford the care they need (37%), making affordability the most important characteristic of healthcare for millennials. Seven in ten (70%) millennials say that cost is a very important factor when looking for healthcare and nearly half of millennials struggle to pay for their healthcare. In fact, most have taken some action to avoid or minimize healthcare costs in the past year, including skipping doctor visits and neglecting to refill prescriptions.
With one in five (21%) millennials unable to afford their routine healthcare expenses and 66% responding that any premium at or above $200/month is unaffordable, it’s not surprising that 16% reported that they do not plan on having insurance in 2017 due to lack of affordability. Despite those hesitant to enroll due to financial concerns, about one third of uninsured millennials do plan to get insured within the next year; therefore, there is great opportunity in engaging this segment, if done right.
When targeting millennials, whether it be the insured or the uninsured, payers need to make affordability their key value proposition and messaging focus, leveraging their direct and digital marketing efforts to create clear transparency around pricing and ensuring agents are trained to guide these consumers to the lowest-cost plan for their budget. Pricing transparency and the emphasis of available healthcare financial management support, whether it be consulting or expense planning tools, can be effective tactics for easing millennial cost concerns.
2. Lack of knowledge remains the biggest barrier to enrollment.
While the number of uninsured millennials has declined to a low of 11%, of the uninsured, 37% (1 in 3) have never had health insurance and 52% have been uninsured for over two years. This is coupled by the fact that 57% of the uninsured only have a high school education or less. Payers participating in the Individual marketplace who want to capture the uninsured millennial market should adapt more aggressive outreach efforts that are tailored to this group’s level of health literacy and need for healthcare advocate support services. This need for more informative outreach is evidenced by the fact that half (55%) of the uninsured say that they are not at all or not very informed about the health insurance options available to them. Many (four out of five) did not enroll in Individual coverage before the ACA deadline because they did not know how to apply or did not feel informed enough about the ACA and their options. While affordability may be the key decision maker in healthcare plan selection, unawareness of enrollment dates and coverage options can derail enrollment altogether.
This lack of knowledge isn’t just limited to the uninsured though. Over a third (35%) of insured millennials say they are not at all or not very informed about the health insurance options available to them. This indicates that payers are failing to reach out to millennials with pre-enrollment marketing that explains and compares their plan options and how to enroll in an easily understandable, low healthcare literacy way. Millennial healthcare education and enhancement of pre-enrollment marketing has to be a priority in order to capture the millennial market.
3. More than half report having some health condition.
Depression, anxiety and obesity run high among millennials, with 23% reporting that they have been diagnosed with either depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or alcohol/drug treatment. Another 54% has been diagnosed with a chronic illness. As a result, 29% want more affordable mental health/counseling services and 36% more affordable wellness visits. Payers looking to reach millennials should highlight the managed care and specialty services their plan offers, such as in-network mental health services, addiction programs and wellness service offerings.
Millennials need to know that the value of a plan will extend far beyond emergency scenarios— they need to know that a plan offers a comprehensive array of ongoing services to support their holistic well-being. The payers who can speak to millennials on a one-to-one level about how the unique wellness services and digital tools they offer to enhance their overall well-being will be the ones to win their hearts and business.
While the millennial generation may not always make shopping for healthcare a priority in their hectic lives, the payers that can cut through the noise and communicate with them on a simplistic level about the value of their plan in the relation to the benefits they care about most can help them realize the importance of investing in quality healthcare.
Tear down millennial stereotypes that healthcare is only for when your sick and demonstrate how your plan is committed to achieving their health and wellness goals with a fresh marketing approach. Need help developing or executing the right strategies? Whether you’re looking to optimize your direct mail, mobile, email or Web marketing efforts, Cierant can help. Currently managing millions of personalized, cross-media integrated annual enrollment campaigns across our portfolio of insurance clients, we are experts in the seamless composition and production of high-impact pre-sale marketing. Call us at 203-731-3555 to learn about our services or email 203-731-3555 to request a demo of our work in action.