High financial expectations, a competitive job market, and mounting student loan bills due immediately upon graduation leave post-secondary graduates vulnerable to financial crises. It’s no wonder that, according to a new TransUnion Healthcare Millennial Report which published last month found that in 2016, 74 percent of millennial patients did not pay their medical bills in full. This trend could lead to consumer bankruptcy.
Unpaid medical bills are a huge problem in the United States across all generations including millennials. In fact, studies point out that younger people tend to have more medical debt because they are less likely to have health insurance.
In addition to not having the funds to pay skyrocketing medical expenses, other expenses are deemed more important to millennials like paying off student loans. It is also important to note that the American Health Care Act is continuing to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26. Overall, this is a good benefit, but perhaps it is this “out of sight, out of mind” perspective that makes millennials complacent to procuring medical insurance and paying medical expenses.
TheTransUnion report reveals that nearly six in 10 millennials (57%) have little to no understanding of their health insurance benefits. Millennials also tend to have less understanding of recent trends in high deductible healthcare plans. More than a quarter of millennials (26%) said they don’t understand high deductible plans, a higher level than Gen X (17%) and Baby Boomers (9%).
At present, most hospitals and physician practices are not prepared to meet millennials’ expectations of patient-friendly, technology-enabled billing and payment processes. Approximately half of millennials (46%) would be more apt to pay their medical bills if they were provided an estimate of their healthcare costs at the point of service. Millennials are used to paying everything electronically, but doctors’ billing processes are slow to conform. Many hospitals and medical facilities considered electronic bill pay systems as a “nice to have.” They still go old school and ask for payments to be mailed in. In addition, millennials are not quick to check a physical mailbox either. “Snail Mail” can pile up before they think to sort it.
The TransUnion Healthcare Millennial Report helps us get into the minds of the millennials. Student loans and low salaries in today’s marketplace weigh heavy on the shoulders of millennials, but going uninsured or not paying medical bills are not a cost saving measures. We offer credit counseling before recommending bankruptcy to all our clients no matter their ages. Sometimes all it takes is proper budgeting and a few life style adjustments to get financial relief. Please refer your millennial clients to us and we will help them move toward financial solvency.