There are 4 main generations in the 2022 workforce, consisting of Gen Z (around 5%), Millennials (around 35%), Gen X (around 33%), and the Baby Boomers (around 25%). Each of these age groups has their own healthcare wants and needs. Employers should be aware of their employee population and their healthcare requirements when planning benefits offerings.
Gen Z: born 1997-2012
Most of Gen Z isn’t old enough to work or have a career yet, but there are already clear patterns of what their workers look for in health benefits. Mental health is very important to this generation with 67% of Gen Z claiming they are extremely worried about their mental health. To them, mental health is equally as important as physical and social health.
Technology is an imperative tool; this generation grew up with technology and has become dependent on its advantages. Having digital healthcare options is a necessity. Hand-in-hand with technology is their need for quick access to medical care along with tools to inform their decision-making.
This generation believes in doing research online or consulting with a parent when making healthcare decisions. According to Gen Z, physician visits are usually too costly and inconvenient. Unsurprisingly, less than half of the adults in Gen Z do not have a primary care physician (PCP).
Millennials: born 1981-1996
Since 2016, Millennials are the largest cohort in the workplace. This group is known for job-hopping, so if their wants and needs are not met in the workplace, they will look elsewhere. Around 96% say they take benefits into account when applying for a job.
This generation uses healthcare the least compared to the others. They like timely care and want to be able to access medical records and schedule appointments online. Positive or negative experiences can make or break this generation’s loyalty to their PCP. When looking to make healthcare decisions, they place a high value on testimonials from peers and reviews.
Millennials are very fixated on what they spend on healthcare. Price transparency, varying price options, and plans with high deductibles and low premiums are common desires for this cohort.
Gen X: born 1965-1980
Individuals from Gen X are the retail shoppers of healthcare. They want to shop around and find the best options before making any health-related decision. This generation wants to be presented with options and information and does not want to be told what to do. Their need to be smart consumers may come from their high usage of medical care. Around 91% of this generation has a PCP.
It’s important to note that this generation is also called the “sandwich generation” because, on top of their own health, they manage the needs of their dependent children and aging parents. Typically, Gen X is the decision maker of their household, and for them, it’s important to have convenient care and excellent service. Due to their busy schedules, many require additional appointment options including weekend and after-work hours.
Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
Approximately 3.8 million Baby Boomers are turning 65 each year, around 10,000 individuals daily. Additionally, more than half of this working population expects to retire some time after age 65. This cohort uses their healthcare the most, accounting for 26% of all doctor visits and 34% of overall prescription usage.
Due to their frequent visitations, Baby Boomers emphasize their need for quality care and physicians they can trust to help them navigate any variety of health conditions. Once a strong patient-provider relationship is built, they want to maintain it, so this generation prefers coverage with an extensive network. When it comes to making healthcare decisions, they solely trust their providers and want to be told in a straightforward manner what they should do.
No matter the generation, each cohort wants to be well informed and confident regarding their healthcare decisions, and employers can play a large role in this. It is the employer’s responsibility to acknowledge and adjust each year to their employee population’s ever-changing healthcare needs and then properly communicate the annual benefits offerings.