Millennial’s and women poor health ensures risin​​g healthcare costs

  • The Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® examined the health of millennials.
  • Millennials (ages 34-36) had a Health Index of 93.8 in 2017.
  • 43 million women have heart disease – more than HALF do not do exercise to offset the disease.
  • 61 percent of the 43 million women with heart disease weren’t meeting the physical activity guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).
  •  Healthcare costs were about $4,000 more for women who weren’t exercising compared to those who were.  

According to STAT News, “most Americans are looking to Congress to lower prescription drug costs and uphold protections in the Affordable Care Act, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation”. But even if price controls for prescription drugs were implemented US healthcare costs are still going to climb.

In the US population, sedentary behaviors generally remained stable and high or increased from 2001 through 2016, depending on the specific activity. Then there is the decline in Millennial health. Insights from the BCBS Health Index show that the major decline in health, on average, begins at age 27. Major depression, hyperactivity and type II diabetes had the largest growth in prevalence for millennials during that time span

To better understand and compare the health conditions impacting millennials and Gen Xers when they were the same age, four aggregate condition groups were created: behavioral health, cardiovascular, endocrine and other physical conditions. Millennials had 11% more total adverse health across these condition groupings than did Gen Xers when they were the same age. This increase was driven by a 21% increase in cardiovascular conditions and a 15% increase in endocrine conditions, including diabetes. Behavioral health conditions explain about 40% of adverse health for both millennials and Gen Xers.

Heart Disease and Women

Around one-third of the US female population has heart disease, and doctors say exercising could help strengthen the heart muscle and manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The team, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, says that physicians need to closely monitor their female patients with cardiovascular disease for signs of inactivity and encourage them to exercise.  58 percent of women with heart disease said they weren’t meeting the AHA’s physical activity guidelines. By 2015, that number rose to 61 percent. 

‘The fact that it’s getting worse instead of better, especially in a group that has heart disease, that should be seeing a cardiologist and getting recommendations, is troubling.’

Women between ages 40 and 64 were the fastest growing age group not getting enough exercise. In 2006, 53 percent said they weren’t performing physical activity, which increased to 63 percent in 2015.

Healthcare costs for women were much higher if they did not exercise, averaging around $12,724 in 2006 and $14,820 in 2015. Meanwhile, women with heart disease who did exercise had healthcare cost averaging $8,811 in 2006 and $10,504 in 2015.