Millennials are less healthy than Gen X, according to new Health of America report

April 24, 2019
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By Regence

Millennials—those born between the years of 1981 and 1996—have substantially higher diagnosis rates for eight key health conditions than Generation X did at the same age, according to a new Health of America report released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) this week.

Based on their current health status, millennials are more likely to be less healthy later in life compared to their Gen X counterparts. This leads to implications for health care costs and work force productivity in future years.

The report pulled data from the BCBS Health Index—a database of medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies—and identified trends in diagnosis rates among millennials—the second-largest generation of commercially insured Americans—between 2014 and 2017. Key findings include:

  • According to a recent survey, only 68% of millennials have a primary care physician—an important factor in preventive care, compared to 90% of Generation X
  • Millennials were most impacted by behavioral health conditions such as depression, hyperactivity and substance use disorder
    • The prevalence of major depression amongst the millennial population increased 31% and diagnosed hyperactivity increased 29%
  • Physical health conditions such as Type II diabetes and hypertension also increased significantly between 2014-2017—by 22% and 16% respectively
  • The decline in health begins at age 27
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“Debt, a constant connection to technology, and societal pressures are all possible contributors to stress spikes in this millennial generation,” said Dr. Drew Olivera, an Executive Medical Director for Regence health plans. “Unfortunately, we’re beginning to see these manifest in a host of physical and behavioral conditions at an alarming rate that can have adverse, immediate and long-term health effects.”

Regence works to address millennial health through an integrated and accessible approach that includes behavioral health. We provide telehealth services that allow members to access treatment when, where and how they need it, in addition to wellness and other programs and tools that help address behavioral and physical health conditions. 

Read our press release to learn more about the BCBSA’s Health of America report on millennial health. You can learn more about the BCBS Health Index here.

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