Although only 27 to 42 years old in 2023, Millennials experience chronic conditions at significant rates. Compared to other age groups, this generation and their children are high utilizers of the health care system.
To reduce healthcare costs, Americans need to take better care of themselves. This means employers, insurers, and HCPs must stress the importance of diet and exercise. Millennials have more health issues than any other demographic segment, and it’s worsening.
Compared to Generation X, Millennials with common chronic medical conditions greatly exceed utilization. More significant medical spending is attributed to Millennial diabetics than Generation X or Baby Boomer diabetics, indicating new diagnoses, higher outpatient utilization, and crisis care. As a proportion of total spending, costs for Millennial diabetics are nearly as high as older generations, which is concerning given the age differences.
Compared to pre-pandemic rates, behavioral health utilization is up 35% for Millennials and their children. Anxiety, depression, and trauma disorders make up 66% of behavioral diagnoses for Millennials. Not surprisingly, per member per month (PMPM) spend has also increased.
What Health Conditions Are Impacting Millennials Most?
The top 10 health conditions impacting millennials, according to BlueCross BlueShield Health Index data:
- Major depression
- Alcohol use disorder
- Psychotic conditions
- Crohn’s disease
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use disorder
- Type 2 diabetes
Unhealthy lifestyles were often a part of the mix for people with chronic conditions. Young adults “with a chronic condition were more likely than those without one to report binge drinking, smoking or physical inactivity,” a CDC research team found.
Certain factors seemed to raise a person’s odds of the leading chronic health condition, obesity. For example, about one-third of young adults living in rural areas were obese, compared to about one-quarter of city dwellers. Black Americans were more likely to deal with obesity than whites — 33.7% versus 23.9%, respectively.
What this data says is that Millennials need help, and they need it now. Their health issues mean that the percentage of healthcare dollars to GDP will keep increasing. Even moving around three days a week could reduce health issues.
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions. While insurers make billions, one has to wonder why they aren’t working with employers on wellness programs.