In a survey by ZocDoc, an online appointment website, 50 percent of millennials said they visited a doctor less than once a year and 93 percent said that they did not schedule preventative visits to the doctor. Instead of visiting a regular doctor, they opted to use urgent care clinics and emergency rooms when needed. These statistics elicit an important question: Why is the younger generation avoiding visits to a regular doctor?
It comes down to time, money and uncertainty. Goldman Sachs reported financial insecurities among millennials are higher than that of previous generations, which makes them more concerned with price than quality. For young individuals pressed for time and money, medical care becomes a lower priority. In addition, they are disillusioned by the seemingly daunting health care system. According to Erin Hemlin, health care campaign director for Young Invincibles, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C, young people tend not to access free preventive services because they think there are going to be costs attached. Unsure of what their insurance covers, millennials are unmotivated to schedule a visit to the doctor, and hopeful the Internet can help them cure an ailment.
What millennials don’t realize is that intermittent care and one-off appointments only lead to an increase in costs because of the inability to coordinate care and testing, which may result in repeated tests. Lacking a home base general practitioner can also result in lower-quality care, as each new doctor is unfamiliar with patients’ health histories. Building a relationship with a doctor is a step toward maintaining long-term health goals, but my generation’s day-to-day concerns make short-term cures a priority. Perhaps, a shift toward telehealth could revolutionize health care for millennials and foster long-lasting relationships among health care providers, insurance companies and the younger generation.
– Aparna Mazumdar