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Millennials, Gen Xers less satisfied with health plans, new survey shows

Incentive for healthy behaviors was the biggest demand from those who took the survey, with 46% saying it was missing from their plans.

Younger generations are more distrustful of their current health insurance providers than previous generations, according to a new survey.

In addition, they are more concerned about their costs going up in the future.

Seventy-six percent of millenials are satisfied with their health insurer, while 72% of Generation X is satisfied, according to The Voice of the Market Survey, a study of more than 5,137 health insurance consumers released last week. That's compared to the 91% of the silent generation and 80% of baby boomers who said they were satisfied with their insurer. The survey showed 78% of people overall were satisfied with their insurance.

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Respondents said they were concerned about insurance companies' ability to keep their costs down. Whether their treatments will be covered was the biggest factor in satisfaction for 34% of survey takers, followed by affordability at 32% and out-of-pocket costs at 31%. Consistency of care was also important to survey takers, according to the report.

The survey was conducted by Survata for HealthEdge. Online interviews took place between Aug. 29 and Sept. 7. 

THE IMPACT

Health plans must be aware that customers will expect them to transform as baby boomers age into Medicare and millennials garner more power by entering leadership roles, HealthEdge said.

When it comes to Medicare for All, millennials are more likely than other generations to trust government-run insurance over their current provider. Twenty-eight percent of millennials said they would prefer a system such as Medicare for All. Twenty-three percent of Generation X answered similarly; 25% of baby boomers and 22% of the silent generation.

While 70% of the silent generation trust their current health insurance provider, only 53% of millennials said they did. The silent generation, born between the mid-to-late 1920s and the early-to-mid 1940s, was also the most distrustful of health insurance models other than their current one, the survey showed.

Incentive for healthy behaviors was the biggest demand from those who took the recent HealthEdge survey. Forty-six percent said this was missing from their plans. Forty-one percent said they wanted tools or information to help them find less costly healthcare. Thirty-six percent said they wanted more assistance with financial responsibility and understanding their benefits.

Dental care was at the top of survey-takers' wish lists with 44% saying they wanted it as part of their coverage, followed by vision at 40%, name-brand prescriptions at 22% and emergency room coverage at 16%. Behavioral health saw the least demand at 13%, while 27% answered "none of the above."

THE LARGER TREND

Millennials have shown in other studies to make different healthcare choices than older generations. In a survey done earlier this year by Transamerica Center for Health Studies, 16% of millennials said they were uninsured, with 60% of those millennials saying insurance was too expensive. Uninsured millennials also said they do not have time to acquire coverage. One in five millennials also said in that survey that they were not satisfied with the quality of the healthcare system they have access to, which showed an increase from 2016.

ON THE RECORD

"The HealthEdge survey results highlight that although consumers remain relatively satisfied with their health insurance coverage, as the generations age, this may change," stated HealthEdge's survey report. "The time to modernize is now."

Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime. Twitter: @maxsullivanlive maxesullivan@gmail.com.