Generational Differences About Health Plan Features

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Different Generation Health Insurance

Generational differences in the workplace are something many organizations are currently trying to effectively manage. Leadership and HR professionals are tasked with redesigning employee benefits and employee value propositions to encompass a diverse set of needs. Because today’s workforce is comprised of four generations worth of individuals, understanding their decision-making patterns and levels of satisfaction will provide important insight into future offerings.

Seeing as healthcare costs reign supreme for most organizations, health plan findings are a great place to start to determine trends by generations. Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey released in 2017 looked at differences including cost of insurance, cost of care, healthcare satisfaction, health plan satisfaction, reasons for choosing a plan, and sources of health information across generations.

A few statistics:

  • Baby Boomers reported being the most-satisfied with their health plan at 59%, compared with 54% of Millennials and 53% of Generation Xers.
  • Additionally, Baby Boomers are the most satisfied with the quality of care they receive, compared with 67% of Millennials and 66% of Generation Xers.

Beyond these differences, there are some additional findings:

Millennials Most Engaged Healthcare Consumers

Millennials also engaged in more cost-conscious behaviors such as seeking the cost of a procedure prior to receiving services, according to EBRI. Their engagement level mirrors their satisfaction with 58% of Millennials reporting begin very or extremely satisfied with out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

However, the flip side of that result is that Millennials are more likely to request a brand-name drug over a generic and are more likely to be smokers – costly activities. Due to their high level of involvement, employers will want to target Millennials with incentives and education about cost-savings from generic drugs and smoking cessation programs.

Generational Dissatisfaction with Out-of-Pocket Costs

Another area of improvement employers also need to consider is how to help employees manage out-of-pocket costs. Less than half of every generation reported being satisfied with this aspect of their plans. Employers offering HDHPs should consider providing HSAs and even funding them each year as a method to ease this financial stressor.

Across all health plan features Generation Xers were less likely to be satisfied than their counterparts. Now companies must also consider Generation Zers’ attitudes and values to continue delivering the right mix of benefits. Health insurance is an important offering that needs to yield engagement and satisfaction to be effective for employees and employer.

Source:  Employer Benefit Research Institute. Consumer Engagement in Health Care and Choice of Health Plan: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and

Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors. April 27, 2017.

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