Millennials Experience Higher Rates of Chronic Health Conditions Compared to Previous Generations

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A new study has revealed that millennials are more interested in professional assistance for their health concerns than ever before.

The study was conducted by United Healthcare and Health Action Council. It examined factors and claims data of policyholders between the ages of 27 and 42, totaling 126,000 people. The study compared the current data from April 2021 to March 2022 with historical data back to 2012. These findings were presented in the sixth annual whitepaper of the group.

Research has shown that Millennials with chronic conditions such as diabetes and their children are more likely to use the healthcare system than Generation X.

This means that millennials with diabetes are admitted to hospitals 106% more often and there are 55% more urgent care (UC), and emergency room (ER) visits.

Despite the lower obesity rates among millennials, 31% more ER visits and UC visits were made, and 29% more admissions to hospitals for those with obesity.

Millennials with back problems have seen the ER and UC 22% less than Gen X with 46% more hospital admissions.

Millennials with osteoarthritis have seen 36% more ER visits and UC visits.

Comparatively to pre-pandemic levels, millennials are using 35% more behavioral health services than they did before the pandemic.

These include anxiety, depression, and trauma disorders which account for 66% of behavioral diagnoses.

In 2019, 31% of PTSD diagnoses were made to millennials. This number rose to 38% in 2022.

According to the study, 41% of claims for neurodevelopment disorders are made by millennials and their families.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD), which is 43%, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (35%) are the most common diagnoses.

Pregnancy is the leading clinical cost driver for millennials as healthcare costs continue their rise.

These complications include multiple births, multiple pregnancies, and C-section deliveries.

Generation Alpha parents have 38% more healthcare utilization than other generations.

This is due to 22% more ER visits, 9% more UC visits, and 76% more outpatient surgeries.

The number of virtual visits that Gen Alpha parents have scheduled for their children is 543% higher than the average for other generations.

Expert: Millennials Are Breaking Stigmas.

The director of the MSN Nurse Practitioner Program Dr. Mykale Elbe and an assistant professor at Maryville University in Town and Country. She said that she was not surprised by the findings. She wasn’t involved in the study.

Comparatively to pre-pandemic levels, millennials are now using 35% more behavioral health services than they did before the pandemic.

Elbe said that mental health is a growing concern for younger generations and that they are “breaking down stigma” which leads to greater awareness of symptoms and more sought-after support from healthcare professionals.

She said that since the pandemic, all healthcare professionals have witnessed an increase in mental health disorder patients and those seeking treatment.

She said that she hopes that “this surge will decline as we move towards the post-pandemic periods, but that is yet to be seen.”

Elbe said that the increase in healthcare utilization can be attributed to the recent availability of medical facilities such as urgent care in the past decade.

She stated that this makes it possible for the public to access health care for everything from minor concerns like a sore throat or lacerations to more serious issues.

Elbe said that the pandemic has caused a rise in healthcare utilization due to minor conditions. She also mentioned that everyone is on high alert for upper respiratory symptoms.

Elbe says that she has seen more parents bring their children in for upper respiratory infections in her years of experience working in pediatrics than at any time since the pandemic.

“We now have the public trained that anyone with a cough should be tested for COVID.”

She said that patients are more likely to use new healthcare options, such as urgent care and clinics for convenient care.

Elbe was shocked at the dramatic rise in diabetes hospital admissions. However, it is consistent with other millennial healthcare utilizations.

She said that although their costs for diabetes care are higher, their control of diabetes is more effective than the older population. “That makes sense as they are generally younger and healthier than their older diabetic counterparts.”

Elbe stated that she is concerned about healthcare costs and utilization among millennials. She also expressed concern over provider shortages.

She said that because of this shortage, patients are having to wait longer to see their healthcare providers.