How to Win Friends and Influence Millennials: Health Exchanges Edition

America is only a few months away from Exchange Day—October 1, 2013—when the state and federal health exchanges open up for business. And when they do… well, I’d surprised if a whole lot happens at first; most people assume they open on January 1, 2014. But eventually there will be a flood of people streaming into the exchanges (virtually) to search for health insurance plans, including the Millennials.

Why? A variety of reasons. One is that people like being insured and prefer it to the uncertainty of being uninsured; those previously unable to purchase a policy they could afford now have subsidies to help them do so. Another is that people largely don’t have a choice—forego purchasing health insurance and get fined.

But the bottom line is this: whether compelled to do so by the safe feeling of being insured or the specter of a fine, Millennials are expected to be an enormous group of entrants into the exchanges: while we make up only 22% of the population, we account for 38% of the uninsured in America.

To compound our already-stratospheric opinion of ourselves, we know that the Millennials are a coveted market for health exchange insurers. Face it: you want us. Bad. That’s because we’re relatively healthy, loyal to brands we like that we see as having a positive impact (70% identify as being brand loyal), and we could actually be the first generation to recommend our health insurance plan to others.

So, culling from Millennial research, surveys, and conversations with fellow Millennials, here are a few morsels of unsolicited advice on how to win us over.

We’re just not that into you. Engage us without being… you know, you.

Listen: we don’t like health insurance companies. There’s just no chemistry between you and us, you know? Honestly: we like you less than we like Comcast. A hurtful truth, to be sure, but you needed to hear it.

You want to engage us so badly—doing so bodes well for your bottom line. But how?

Partner with the cool kids to make staying healthy easy.

Right now, the “cool kids” are the organizations that are using technology to prevent their customers from getting sick – or if they’re already sick, helping them get well. Some are in mobile health (mHealth), others are a part of the “Internet of Things,” and some are going social. All are capturing data – largely without customers having to do a thing. This is known (in slightly creepy verbiage) as “automated hovering”—the ability to collect data without input from the user.

For a physician, it’s great; ideally, a system will tell him/her when a patient’s health is deteriorating or if a patient isn’t complying with the treatment plan—it’s like having an assistant constantly monitor the health of all of his/her patients.

But automated hovering is even better for patients, and (due to our unique and everlasting relationship with technology) the Millennial generation is primed to use it to become—and stay—healthy.

Here’s a simple example of how automated hovering can spur better outcomes: medication adherence. As a nation, we are terrible at it, leading to higher healthcare costs—to the tune of $300 billion per year, according to one estimate. This is a tiny area of health care ripe for innovation, and there are myriad organizations researching and designing items to increase adherence, creating everything from simple text message platforms to “smart” pill bottles. In the latter case, if Larry doesn’t take his medication on time, the pill bottle sends him a text message to gently remind him; if he still doesn’t take his medication, his case manager or physician will get a text.

So the cool kids have the brand cachet and the technology to make staying healthy easy. Most consumers—and basically all Millennials—have the technology and the know-how to benefit from the applications. And let’s face it: we love anything that makes our lives easier.

As a health insurer, you’d benefit from healthy customers, and you need a way to connect to Millennials—it’s a match made in heaven. Partner with these companies; acquire these companies. Do whatever you need to do to help identify your brand more with health and technology than with rescissions and Snidely Whiplash.

Don’t be evil.

This isn’t complicated – just don’t be evil, don’t sound evil, and don’t look evil. Millennials are extremely brand-conscious and associate with brands more than previous generations. The Affordable Care Act actually makes this pretty easy for you, with its regulations on preexisting conditions, rescissions, and more.

Admittedly, none of that advice is particularly earth-shattering. But this is a whole new ballgame for you, health insurers, and any edge you can get over your competitors is to your long-term benefit; attracting Millennials is one way to do that. So, partner with organizations that have brand cachet, and don’t be evil—you should be able to do that, right?

Hopefully. Remember: October 1 is creeping closer every day.

Mike Miesen is a healthcare consultant and recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently on loan to the Ugandan Ministry of Health (via NGO), leading a project to reduce maternal mortality. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeMiesen and at Project Millennial, where this post first appeared.

26 replies »

  1. Many men and women never realize that coconut oil has a large amount of benefits with it and is in fact anything you should be using on an usual
    basis. Coconut oil has amazing properties for fighting both internal and external
    yeast infections. If you don’t know, a pre-poo is a treatment you put on your hair before you shampoo it.

  2. Thanks , I have just been searching for information about this
    subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now.
    However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the supply?

  3. Hi! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does building a well-established blog like yours require
    a lot of work? I’m brand new to operating a blog but I do write
    in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to
    share my own experience and feelings online. Please let
    me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.

  4. While shopping, they snap a picture of the barcode on their item with their smartphone
    camera. Leather phone cases have become very common
    these days with almost every Smartphone owner choosing to
    have them. Such Smartphone apps are widely accepted and have received the maximum buzz this year.

  5. secara nasional, turut hadir, contohnya MNCTV, yang juga disebut TPI di tahun 1991,
    SCTV dan juga Andalas Televisi di 1993, Indosiar di ’95, Media Televisi Indonesia di awal millennium baru , Trans 7
    yang juga. dan tablet, selain menambah saluran untuk membaca tidak hanya dari versi
    cetak, versi digital ini bisa juga untuk memaknai perkembangan perangkat tablet.

    Bisnis ini telah semenjak dulu, berevolusi dan berkembang dengan beragam inovasi dalam kegiatannya.

  6. However, the emotion never did leave that organ and over time
    it had weakened it to the point that you notice a severe issue years later.
    An excellent guide or any viable facts about online dating
    can be actually quite hard to find and that’s why this post is especially written to aid any teen searching for love online.

    Be very clear on what type of guys forty plus you would like.

  7. you’re truly a excellent webmaster. The
    site loading pace is incredible. It kind of feels that you’re
    doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are
    masterpiece. you have done a excellent job on this topic!

  8. Just wish to say your article is as astonishing.

    The clearness for your post is just great
    and that i can suppose you are an expert in this subject.

    Fine together with your permission let me to grasp your feed to keep up to date with approaching post.
    Thank you one million and please continue
    the gratifying work.

  9. Furthermore, my experience comes with identifying the competitive
    advantage for a few different companies and crafting that advantage into
    a online marketing strategy to develop new business.
    The truth is, people join MLM opportunities as a result of who introduced them.
    ll contain the practical guidance you need on how to find a concierge business”.

    Take a look at my web page http://portalplay.com/profile/257736/Lu9004.html

  10. Hello! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know
    how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird
    when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

  11. Hey there! I realize this is sort of off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does operating a well-established blog such as
    yours require a lot of work? I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary on a daily basis.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for
    brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

    Feel free to surf to my page steam wallet codes (kurld.com)

  12. “non-sequiturs”

    There is no hyphen in “non sequitur”. That was taught in grade 7.

  13. Thanks. Your writing is a string of non-sequiturs. You sound like Mr Smith in “The Bald Soprano”

  14. ” I would reduce free public education to about grade six and eliminate the compulsory aspect of it.”

    It appears that grade six is about all you got, so be happy in your ignorance.

  15. Generalizing generations is fun. All millennials are the same. Only millennials really understand and embrace technology. All millennials want insurance. My name is Mike and since I speak for all millennials, I can safely and without reproach generalize about millennials. Even more fun is pitting generations against generations. No boomers understand millennials. They are old and drain the system. In fact, they are responsible for screwing up the system. Thank God obama came along and recognized how smart and great the millennials are and is fixing the system. He does not like insurers either. This is great. Thank God obama is fixing the system so that boomers pay more and millennials pay less. Wait. What? Obama is making it so millennials will have to pay more and boomers will pay less. That sounds evil. Yeah, but then obama is a boomer. Makes sense now.

  16. What you said is a non-sequitur. But yes, too much public education is provided by all, to too many who don’t really need or benefit from it. I would reduce free public education to about grade six and eliminate the compulsory aspect of it.

  17. “I think it is wrong to force people to pay too much, for something they don’t need, just to subsidize an older generation who wants to pay less for something they think they really do need.”

    Who paid for your education and continues to pay for your kids education – twenty somethings?

  18. “Only at that point they won’t be so healthy.”

    But they’ll get guaranteed issue!

  19. I was a twenty something once; and all my friends, at the time, were also twenty somethings. So, no, I don’t think I am overgeneralizing. A wife, kids, a house and fifteen to twenty more years changes everything in your mind.

    When I say “they don’t buy insurance because they don’t need insurance”; I do mean because “they don’t need insurance” and I think it is wrong to force people to pay too much, for something they don’t need, just to subsidize an older generation who wants to pay less for something they think they really do need.

  20. “Millenials is a name given to the current crop of twenty to thirty somethings. Like all twenty somethings, they have their heads up their asses. They don’t buy insurance because they don’t need insurance.”

    Ouch. And a little offense taken (from this millenial). Don’t you think you’re over-generalizing? Especially in light of the point of this piece?

  21. Millenials is a name given to the current crop of twenty to thirty somethings. Like all twenty somethings, they have their heads up their asses. They don’t buy insurance because they don’t need insurance.

    If a twentysomething has a choice between the possibility of missing out on a tax refund of five hundred dollars or the certainty of paying five or six thousand for a health plan he doesn’t need; then he will take his chances with the missed refund. Good luck getting these twits to play. You will have better luck with them in ten years when they have a mortgage, wife, two kids and a world of worries. Only at that point they won’t be so healthy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *