Millennials’ Unsteady Approach to Health Care

By Steve Barrett
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Specialty: 

Harmony Healthcare IT surveyed approximately 2,000 millennials ages 23–38. The findings suggest the younger set is charting a sometimes perilous medical path.

The health data management firm learned:

  • The propensity to ignore health concerns does not discriminate by age. Almost half of respondents said they were delaying addressing a health issue.
  • Those delays can drag on. More than 40% with an untreated condition acknowledged putting off dealing with it for more than one year.
  • Established relationships with primary care providers are not a given. About 1 in 4 millennials has no primary care physician, and almost 2 in 5 with a PCP have had the relationship less than a year.
  • Family matters. Almost a third of respondents with PCPs chose them based on referrals by family members ­— about the same as the number who had done so via insurance portals and significantly more than had selected providers based on online reviews.
  • “Routine physicals” aren’t. One-fourth of respondents went without a physical for five years or longer, and a third had not had one in the past year.

That flies in the face of the established benefits of regular care.

“There is clear evidence that people who get sufficient incremental care enjoy better prevention, earlier diagnosis and management of urgent conditions, better control of chronic illnesses, and longer life spans,” surgeon and author Atul Gawande, MD, noted in a 2017 CNBC report.