Hannah Horvath, the main character from HBO’s both widely criticized and praised hit television show GIRLS said, "I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice. Of a generation." Well, I don’t claim to be the all encompassing voice of my generation, but after working for four years in the progressive startup space and in health care digital marketing and collaborating with Millennials across the country, I’ve learned a lot about our Gen Y slice of the pie.
Generation Name - Birth Year Ranges
GI Generation - Born 1901 – 1926
Silent Generation - Born 1927 – 1945
Baby Boomers - Born 1946 – 1964
Generation X - Born 1965 – 1980
Generation Y/Millennials - Born 1981 – 2000
Generation Z - Born after 2001
How we spend our money, how we are perceived in the workforce, how we engage with others and how we make an impact on society can be viewed negatively and positively depending on who you ask. There’s a lot to be said about how other generations view Millennials and the way we view ourselves. Others might say Millennials are:
- Ill-prepared for the future
- Lazy, not hardworking
- Overly passionate
Those perceptions however come with a distasteful side of disdain and an extra helping of misunderstanding. Sure, some Millennials could be classified in those ways, but so many of us could also be called:
- Loyal to brands and loved ones
- Healthy, to avoid issues we’ve seen in the past ie: obesity, cigarette smoking
- Driven and passionate about our careers
- Respectful and empathetic to others, despite their background
Growing up in a digital environment, our generation has been awarded limitless opportunities unavailable to previous generations. Due to this fact, the way we get information, how we socialize and how we act as consumers is automated, streamlined and unlike ever before. In our time, we’ve seen the evolution of travel with websites like Expedia, digitized shopping capabilities with eBay, automated financial management with PayPal and now even instant gratification from online shopping with Amazon’s introduction of drone delivery.
It’s no wonder we handle things like money management differently than our parents. The things our Baby Boomer generation would save money for, such as homes, cars and health insurance aren’t really on our radar. So why is it that the Gen Y population is seemingly unconcerned with health care coverage, despite the spotlight “Obamacare” has put on the issue?
Reasons why Millennials don’t love the idea of paying for health insurance:
- Invincibility: We are fairly young and healthy, so we don’t think we’ll get sick and need the insurance
- Anti-Conformity: We don’t like to take the first answer given to us and we don’t like to be told what we have to purchase, which means we will ultimately try to beat the system.
- Consumerism: We are accustomed to having the power to use the internet and social media to connect and make decisions about the brands, products and services we spend our money on. In health care, that can be a challenge.
We are the future of health care, but this sad fact remains: 40% of Millennial employees say they would not be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for health expenses if something came up. Additionally, only 13% of Millennials said they are actually satisfied with their employer-provided benefits.
So what can our health care industry do to improve access to quality, affordable care ourselves? We believe the first and most important step is to accept price transparency and quality transparency. Making it easier for patients to compare their options and select physicians based on what’s most important to them. Our online market place, Save On Medical, gives patients the power to actually shop for medical procedures online the way they shop for travel with Expedia.
As more innovative startups continue to develop the health tech space with the support of leaders like Florida Blue, we predict that Millennials will spark a health care revolution. We’ll pave the way for generations to come. If the innovation we’ve seen over the last decade is any indication, it’s going to be a wild ride.