Millennials, individuals 18 to 33 years old, total than 80 million people. This is the largest age group to emerge since the Baby Boom Generation, which Millennials outnumber by seven million, and the largest generation in the workforce today.
According to the States of Change Project, a non-partisan effort, millennials will represent 30.5 percent of eligible voters in 2016. By 2020, that number is projected to rise past 34 percent, the project forecasts. If these statistics hold true, healthcare companies should start to engage millennials now.
By 2020, millennials will be the ones driving change.
When it comes to the insurance landscape today:
- Millennials are least likely group to be engaged with insurers.
- Millennials are more than twice as likely to buy online.
- Millennials' families influence their choice in insurers.
Insurance leaders are looking for a number of ways in which they can boost enrollment numbers of millennials - particularly those who may be starting families and building up significant financial gains in the coming decades. However, studies show that this generation is the one most likely to be a reticent to get involved with exploration of healthcare options, as well as entertain thoughts of life and property insurance.
Too Healthy for Healthcare
Armed with smartphone savvy, apps for everything and a habit for rapid tweeting, millennials can easily fall prey to inaccurate online research, bad social media guidance and the impulse to self-medicate to avoid expensive ER visits.
Not to mention, some members of this demographic believe, often naively, that they are simply…too healthy for healthcare. Clearly, educating the millennial generation is a priority for employers – and brokers. Today's brokers and benefits advisers are taking the opportunity to teach employees about voluntary benefits by focusing on the benefit, eliminating barriers to entry and emphasizing that they are truly informing and educating, not selling, millennials on their products.
When it comes to engaging millennials in the healthcare discussion:
- Millennials want simple decision tools to help understand disability benefits and determine coverage needs, competitively priced premiums for desired coverage, convenient payroll deductions - and mobile accessible platforms for 24/7 engagement.
- Millennials tend to value professional fulfillment over salary. They expect rapid promotion and meaningful work or they’ll seek other opportunities.
- Millennials often juggle many jobs and move among employers frequently. The average Millennial has $29,000 in student loan debt.
- Overall, they are more worried about getting rid of debt or incurring additional debt than their day-to-day expenses.
- When it comes to healthcare benefits, their greatest needs include portable benefits, forced savings, financial education and concierge services.
- Voluntary benefits that appeal to Millennials include employee purchase programs, discount programs, wellness programs and others suited to their stage in life.
- Studies show many millennials do care a great deal about their overall health and wellness, but feel unprepared when it comes to their medical protections.
- Health insurance, health-related voluntary benefits and wellness programs do appeal to today's millennials.
Talking Benefits to Millennials
Millennials are significantly more likely to prefer using technical means to obtain health information mobile apps, text, or popular social channels including Facebook and Twitter. Gallup uncovered insights into what drives millennials to start a relationship or stay in one with an insurance company. Gallup’s analysis uncovered two important avenues insurance companies can take to build relationships with millennials.
- Family Ties: Millennials are significantly more likely than other generations to have insurance coverage under a family member who chose the company. When their family members value an insurance company's brand, millennials follow suit. This finding contrasts sharply with older generations' prioritization of factors such as cost and company reputation over family preference. By building loyalty with Generation Xers and baby boomers, insurance companies can improve millennial customer acquisition and retention. And by thinking strategically, insurance companies can reach millennials through older generations of customers.
- Online Buys: Millennials are more likely to buy insurance online. Another important distinction among generations is that millennials are more than twice as likely (27% vs. 11% respectively) as all other generations to purchase their policies online rather than through an agent. Online purchasing is far from the mainstream among insurance consumers overall - 74% originally purchased with an agent vs. 14% online - but if this trend among millennials continues to grow, it could substantially change the way insurance companies interact with customers in the coming years.
As insurance companies think about ways to improve their engagement with millennials, the following are some key areas of focus, according to Gallup:
- Family incentives: Insurers can leverage existing relationships with members of older generations who can reach out to their millennial family members. By giving incentives to baby boomers and Generation Xers to add policies for millennial relatives, insurers have a good chance of not only gaining new customers but also engaging entire families.
- Specialized services: Older generations would likely appreciate insurers' extra efforts to take care of the millennial customers in their families. Insurance companies can engage multiple generations by prioritizing care of millennials in both their product offerings and customer service -- and communicating this to millennials and their families.
- Information security: Millennials -- and all customers -- want to know their account and personal information is safe. This is the most important driver for this generation. Insurance companies should focus on providing top-of-the-line online security to boost engagement. By offering security education to customers and keeping them up-to-date on the steps they can take to improve security, insurance companies can make the most of this engagement driver.
- Ease of making changes to coverage online: To millennials, convenience, functionality and speed are key to the online experience. And compared with other generations, they encounter significant life changes with greater frequency. Being able to quickly and easily make changes to coverage online is another strong engagement driver among millennial customers.
- Finding answers: Tech-savvy millennials frequently turn to the Internet when they have a question. It's important to millennials that the answers to their insurance questions are easy to find and simple to grasp. Making information readily available online and providing other resources, such as live chat, are smart ideas for meeting this millennial need.