Millennials Lag in Paying Medical Bills

Millennials are paying their medical bills at a slower rate than other generations, such as Gen X and Baby Boomers, according to research from TransUnion’s Healthcare Millennial Report.

“Despite the vast majority of Millennials having health insurance, they tend to pay their medical bills at a slower rate than other generations,” according to a news release on the report. “In fact, in 2016, 74 percent of Millennials did not pay their medical bills in full, compared to 68 percent for Gen X and 60 percent for Baby boomers. Yet, seven in 10 Millennials said they would pay their medical bills in full if they had the money to do so.”

TransUnion also found that 57 percent of Millennials have “little to no understanding of their health insurance benefits. This is significantly lower than other generations, including Gen X (50 percent) and Baby Boomers (42 percent).”

“Millennials are facing a tough road, in some ways they were placed at an early disadvantage compared to previous generations. As Millennials were just entering the workforce and likely had less disposable income, both insurers and employers began cost-shifting payments,” Jonathon Wiik, principal of Healthcare Strategy at TransUnion Healthcare, said in the news release. “Despite these challenges, our research indicates that Millennials are indeed interested in responsibility paying their medical debts, while at the same time, healthcare providers will need to get innovative to make the payments process more manageable for Millennials.”

According to the report, including TransUnion healthcare data and information from an October 2017 survey of 1,576 consumers, about half of Millennials (46 percent) would be more likely to pay their medical bills if they had an estimate of their healthcare costs at the time of services with their healthcare provider.

“Healthcare providers looking to improve cash flow from Millennial patients should look for ways to encourage payments at the time of service while offering more educational tools to ensure they better understand the complex healthcare landscape,” John Yount, vice president for Healthcare Solutions at TransUnion, said in the news release.

Additional findings from the TransUnion Healthcare report include:

  • 35 percent of Millennials do not plan for medical or healthcare expenses as part of their budget.
  • 51 percent of Millennials do not feel prepared to manage healthcare/medical expenses; compared to 42 percent of Gen-Xers and 33 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • 40 percent of Millennials compare the cost of services by healthcare provider compared to 20 percent of Gen-Xers and 22 percent of Baby Boomers.

Source: Pulse March 2018 – Vol. 34 No. 3