High-deductible healthcare plans have resulted in a rise in patient financial responsibility. This, in turn, has meant that patients are beginning to make decisions around healthcare in a way that more resembles retail shopping and price comparison than it does anything else.
Nowhere is the trend of healthcare consumerism more apparent than with the Millennial generation. This is the first age cohort that has grown up and come of age never knowing what the world looked like before the internet. Information has always been easily accessible and right at their fingertips, whether they’re looking for the score of a football game, applying for a mortgage, or buying a new car.
This demand for instant informational gratification covers just about every area, and healthcare most certainly isn’t excluded. Therefore, providers must either keep up or find themselves failing to succeed in the age of healthcare consumerism, especially as the youngest of this generation comes of age (believe it or not, the very youngest Millennials turn 22 this year).
What do Millennials want?
Millennial healthcare consumers want healthcare options that fit them, not the other way around. They expect to be engaged and to be part of the decision-making process when it comes to treatment options. In fact, Millennials are much more likely to already be informed before they even get to their doctor’s office, thanks — for better, or for worse — to Dr. Google. They are also savvier than previous generations at using that information to lower their cost of care. They know a cold from the flu and are less likely to see a doctor for a simple case of the sniffles. And they know better than to ask for or take unnecessary medications — like antibiotics for a cold — when they don’t need them. As a whole, they are far more skeptical of the traditional medical establishment than those who came before them.
Utilizing technology to engage Millennial consumers.
We mentioned last week that meeting consumers where they are is job number one in the age of healthcare consumerism, but at no time is that more important as when engaging with Millennials. Because they are also five times more likely to adopt a technology, this means going mobile — using SMS messages, push notifications, patient portal phone apps — whatever is needed to make access to information, care and even their provider as convenient and instantaneous as possible.
Millennial price sensitivity.
Millennials may also be the generation to make the use of telemedicine as common as seeing a doctor in person, due to their preference and general reliance on technology. As many consumers in this age cohort do not have an existing relationship with a primary care provider as it is, utilizing telemedicine, which offers on-demand access to care, is about as convenient as healthcare gets. Telemedicine is also often much less expensive than traditional care, with some insurance plans offering co-pays as low as $5 per session vs. $30 or $40 for an office appointment.
Curae helps patients say “yes” to needed care.
In general, Millennials are much more sensitive to the costs of healthcare than previous generations, who were accustomed to gold-standard insurance that covered the vast majority of expenses. As many Millennials graduated college in the years around the Great Recession, they have had a more difficult time finding long-term, well-paying employment, along with carrying the burden of larger student loan debt. Finding ways for providers to ease some of their anxiety around healthcare costs — especially for necessary procedures — is one way to help foster a positive relationship and increase retention. This is where Curae can help.
Integrated directly into the patient intake process, Curae puts patients in the driver’s seat by giving them the power to more easily finance their own health care needs. This ultimately decreases their stress around costs and allows clinicians to do what they do best — provide care. To begin the process of adding Curae to your practice, get started with Curae today.