If you were to guess which generation is more likely to choose a health insurance plan because it offers better pricing, would you answer, “Baby Boomers” or “Millennials”? The answer might surprise you.
Millennials are known for frugality—tiny homes over big mortgages, IKEA over Ethan Allen, private label products over name brands. But a study conducted by Accenture found that only 24 percent of Millennials—versus 74 percent of Baby Boomers—said an offer of better pricing would influence their choice in a health insurance plan.
The Accenture study reveals additional insights about millennial healthcare consumers, and the news for hospitals and other healthcare providers isn’t good. Millennials are largely dissatisfied with their healthcare experiences. Here are three things you should know to better meet their expectations.
1. Millennials want digital options
While this may seem obvious, given Millennials’ near-addiction to smartphones, many healthcare providers have fallen short when it comes to providing digital tools to healthcare consumers. If you want to attract and engage this tech-savvy audience, you need to deliver better digital experiences.
For example, the Accenture study found that 66 percent of Millennials want to schedule appointments online and 47 percent want the option of virtual doctor visits. But those aren’t the only aspects of the healthcare experience that need an update to satisfy digital natives. Offering health portals and EHR access, along with online payment options, can help.
“Service is so important to millennials that they are willing to sacrifice price to receive better convenience.”
To aid in educating millennial healthcare consumers, Accenture suggests healthcare providers, “Craft simple messages that matter and make sense to millennials, and provide that information via intuitive, user-friendly digital experiences that are seamlessly integrated with live help channels.”
2. Millennials expect patient-centric experiences
Why does Amazon routinely earn “Brand Favorite” accolades? The company has the Millennial trifecta: convenience, great customer service and personalized experiences. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, aren’t delivering on those expectations.
Only 19 percent of Millennials feel access to healthcare is convenient, and 47 percent of Millennials who switched providers said they would not have done so if customer service had been able to resolve an issue on the first contact.
In fact, despite their frugality, says Accenture, “Service is so important to millennials that they are willing to sacrifice price to receive better convenience.” The study also found that “Only 32 percent of millennials feel they are treated well in the healthcare system, compared to 51 percent of baby boomers.”
To facilitate utilization by Millennials, healthcare providers need to enable the capabilities and features that support convenient access to care—such as the digital solutions mentioned above—along with mobile support tools, knowledgeable customer service delivered across multiple touch points, and personalized messaging via their preferred channel.
3. Millennials expect fast, efficient care
Wonder why retail clinics and urgent care centers are booming? According to a PNC Healthcare study, Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to choose one of those options because of the walk-in convenience and the speed and efficiency of the visit. Making Millennials wait days or even weeks for an appointment—or worse, sit in a waiting room well past the appointment time—is a sure way to lose a customer.
Becker’s Hospital Review notes, “Healthcare facilities need fast turnaround if they are going to meet the expectations of the Millennials generation.” As proof, the article cites efforts by the Cleveland Clinic to address Millennial expectations. In addition to offering appointment scheduling by email, the Cleveland Clinic also schedules nearly a million same-day appointments per year.
Of course, despite some shared characteristics, all Millennials are not alike, and a one-size-fits-all approach will fall short. Psychographic segmentation can help healthcare providers classify the mind-sets of individual millennial healthcare consumers based on their attitudes towards health and wellness, their preferred sources of healthcare information, and more.
c2b solutions has identified five distinct psychographic segments among healthcare consumers:
- Self Achievers motivated by goals and measures
- Balance Seekers determined to weigh all options, not just those offered by healthcare providers
- Willful Endurers living in the moment and resistant to health-related lifestyle changes
- Priority Jugglers focused on family and work obligations ahead of self
- Direction Takers looking for clear, specific instructions to follow
While Willful Endurers are overdeveloped among the Millennial generation (explaining much about the need for immediate gratification and convenience), 57 percent of Millennials approach health and wellness in a very different manner. Stereotyping Millennials as a singular, homogenous population risks missing more than half of this population in terms of effective engagement.
By recognizing these differences and tailoring communications and health management tools to address them, healthcare providers can improve millennial healthcare experiences and build loyalty. With more than 83 million Millennials in the U.S., getting it right with this cohort isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. How would Millennials rate your healthcare organization?