But could the largest generation be the answer to the mess that is our healthcare system?
This baby boomer hopes so.
I have never been one for labels. Although I use plenty in reference to me – baby boomer, middle child of 7, Old Lady Walking.
Labels create stereotypes; however, I do believe that the times we live in shape our generations. I prefer looking at the unique and positive traits of a generation.
Gallup released a survey, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, that makes for interesting reading. The following are some of the positive traits I see in millennials.
- Millennials need to feel they make a difference in the world
- If you can tap into what motivates them, you have a powerful force for change
- Millennials do not have much use for “rules” for the sake of rules
Now think about our healthcare system. Can you think of a better fit for the above three traits?
Health Care Is Not Insurance
A fundamental problem with how the U.S. attempts to provide health coverage is viewing health care and insurance as synonymous terms. As a fellow crusader in our industry expressed it ~
We have a health crisis, not an insurance crisis. The insurance crisis is a symptom.” Fred Pilot, Pilot Healthcare Strategies
The following are a few of the frightening statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- More than 1/3 (36.4%) of Americans are obese
- Over 29 million Americans have diabetes (86 million live with prediabetes)
- 27.6 million adults have a diagnosis of heart disease
Until we fix the health crisis, any proposed health coverage is like placing a band-aid on a severed artery.
Insurance is all about risk.
I like this analogy Fred recently shared with me in an email – If a third of the homes on a block are run down fire traps and generating fire insurance claims, is that a viable insurance market?
A viable insurance market is one that spreads the risk, whether it’s buildings or people. So, if nearly half of all adults have one or more chronic condition, and that doesn’t ever change, how do you sustain insurance?
Gallup-Healthways’ well-being report states millennials are more likely than any other age group to exercise and are the least obese age group. That does not mean they don’t have their own challenges.
Reports reveal that the millennial generation, more than any other, suffer from depression.
The stigma attached to mental health has been one our country struggles with. I wonder if the higher statistics are valid or are millennials more willing to admit they suffer from depression?
Consider the strong support from millennials for the use of medical marijuana and the legalization of gay marriage. From their vantage point, both make sense. It’s that elimination of “rules for the sake of rules.”
Do millennials subscribe to the World Health Organization’s definition of health?
Health is not only the absence of infirmity and disease, but also a state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
Will the millennial take on health upset the rotting apple cart of health coverage?
I recently read an article addressing the “fallacies of using health savings accounts to solve our health care problems.”
Health savings accounts (HSAs) are tax-advantaged savings accounts designed to pay for qualified medical expenses. HSAs require enrollment in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that are all the rage right now.
The article’s author (a physician) shares a criticism of mine regarding the concept behind health care consumerism. Simply increasing deductibles and out-of-pocket costs will not force a person to become a better consumer.
Despite claims to the contrary, health care is never going to be like online shopping.
The majority of health care spending occurs when patients are very ill. When you are really sick or have a serious illness, are you going to shop for care?” Health Savings Accounts’ Dirty Secret And How The GOP Can Fix It
Dr. McClanahan proposes a plan that reverts to the purpose of insurance – risk management. Below is a partial summary of her points.
- Keep HSAs but significantly change how we pay for coverage
- Carve out primary care (a reported 30% of the premium cost)*
- Provide primary care through community health centers
- Cover catastrophic care through insurance
*NOTE: The author tweeted the following correction: Paying for primary care through insurance adds 30% to the cost of primary care. Removing primary care from insurance will reduce premiums for catastrophic coverage way more than 30%! 70% of care is primary.
The author projects considerable savings with this approach. For the details person, you can read the links to information in the article.
To illustrate how this works, I created the following infographic, using one of the article’s examples.
Time for Something Different?
The above approach is different (which means many will hate it). That may be exactly the reason millennials would get behind it.
Community health centers could become the hub for programs promoting healthy living and lifestyle changes. The centers could be a key resource for developing home care alternatives, as well as education.
Would millennials embrace this or a similar model? It could be a great way to help aging baby boomer parents. You know –that same mom and dad who opened their home to returning millennial children.
When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
John F. Kennedy
What do you think?
Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.