If you’re a benefits leader for a large business, you may have a Gen Z developer working down the hall from a member of the executive board in the Silent Generation. Not only are they from different generations, but they have different priorities and expectations when it comes to health insurance. As an employer, you can be prepared to anticipate and meet the range of expectations that each generation has for their health care. But first, it’s important to understand the lifestyles and characteristics that make up each of the five generations in today’s workforce.
Understanding all five generations in the workforce
Each generation has its own specific health care needs. For example:
Workers born before 1946 are considered part of the Silent Generation, and though they only account for 2% of the current workforce, they are among the highest users of health care—along with Baby Boomers, who currently make up 25% of the workforce.1 The Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and generally prioritize word-of-mouth recommendations when it comes to their healthcare choices.2
33% of the multi-generational workforce consists of Generation X—born between 1964 and 1980.1 Gen-Xers share more in common with Millennials than with Boomers, and are more active in pursuing information about their own health. As the first generation of “digital natives”, Millennials—born between 1981 and 1996—expect more information and accessibility with their health care. They value efficiency and are emotionally driven when it comes to brand loyalty. 35% of the workforce are Millennials, and that number will grow to 74% by 2025. Finally, representing 5% of the workforce is Gen Z—born after 1997—highly tech savvy, but still defer to their parents for most decisions related to their health care.3
Where they get their information
The Silent and Baby Boomer generations are much more likely to trust their providers solely about their personal health. In particular, Boomers value personal relationships with their providers more than other generations, so coverage with an extensive network of providers is attractive to this generation in particular.4
Unlike previous generations, Gen-Xers typically seek out and rely on multiple sources of information for their health care decisions. While Millennials primarily seek peer-driven advice rather than expert-driven, Gen-Xers rely on recommendations from traditional sources like primary care providers (PCPs) and social forums that provide peer recommendations.5
What this means for your business: Provide multiple formats and sources of health information for their employees.
How they prefer to receive care
Valuing the opinions of their providers more than other generations, the Silent and Baby Boomer generations look to them for advice and care. Currently, Boomers account for 26% of all doctor visits and 34% of overall prescription usage.6
Gen-Xers also visit the doctor frequently—for themselves, but as well as caretakers for both their parents and children. On the other hand, Millennials are currently utilize traditional health care in today’s workforce the least, and only 58% say they trust their PCPs.5 Along Gen Z, Millennials tend to seek out alternative medicine, such as wearables and dietary supplements. Health benefits and offerings like telemedicine, behavioral health and mindfulness are attractive to younger generations.
What this means for your business: Offer more than one health plan with a range of traditional and alternative benefits.
How they spend their time and money
Baby Boomers put convenience at a premium, as they value both their money and time. Gen-Xers typically act as the chief decision makers in their households and are also responsible for the health needs of their aging parents. As a result, convenience and ease are extremely valuable. They have no time to waste and shop for health care the same way they shop for retail goods. Personalized offerings are attractive to Gen-Xers with this detail in mind.7
Millennials also expect ease with their health care decisions; for example, comparison tools to make informed choices are of value. When given a choice of health plans, Millennials are most likely to enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), according to a 2017 survey conducted by Benefitfocus.7
What this means for your business: Offer a range of health plans with flexible spending options that cater to the needs of all generations.
What they all have in common
Whether a Boomer or Gen-Zer, employees in today’s workforce want to feel informed and confident about their health care decisions. Health care that is easily accessible and for a good value is a priority no matter the generation.
When it comes time to choose health care for your workforce, you can feel confident selecting health insurance that offers your employees options and gives you a variety of resources that best explains how to make the most of the plans you provide.
Talk to a broker about assessing your workforce and designing the right healthcare plan for your employees, and see our latest plans, strategically designed to support every generation.
1. Fry, R. (2018, April 11). Millennials are the Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Force. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/
2. Health Trust. (2016, September 7). One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The Challenges of Patient Engagement Across the Generations. https://healthtrustpg.com/professional-development/patient-engagement-across-generations/
3. Sandle, T. (2017, July 6). Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, Gen Z: healthcare expectations. http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/health/boomers-gen-xers-millennials-gen-z-healthcare-expectations/article/497028
4. The Hartman Group. (2017, October 31). Older Consumers: Redefining Health And Wellness As They Age. https://www.forbes.com/sites/thehartmangroup/2017/10/31/older-consumers-redefining-health-and-wellness-as-they-age/#1cbf95f515fd
5. Tazi, M. (2016, May 23). Millennials Define Health Differently than Other Generations.
6. Geriatric Nursing. (2018). Baby Boomers and Their Effect on Healthcare. https://geriatricnursing.org/baby-boomers-and-their-effect-on-healthcare/
7. Majors, M. (2018, June 17). How to Engage Different Generations with Their Healthcare Benefits. https://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/mhe-articles/how-engage-different-generations-their-healthcare-benefits