Gen Zers, millennials feeling impacts of COVID-19 on health coverage, costs: TransUnion

Millennials and Generation Zers are particularly feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on their health coverage, according to a new survey.

In September, TransUnion Healthcare surveyed more than 3,000 people who had visited a healthcare facility in the past year and found that one-third (33%) of Gen Z and 29% millennial respondents had their health insurance impacted by the pandemic.

By comparison, 22% of respondents overall said the same, including 18% of Generation Xers and 12% of baby boomers.

“Our survey found, due to the pandemic, larger percentages of younger generations deferred non-essential care and had their insurance coverage impacted. At the same time, the industry has reported only modest shifts in payer mix despite the economic and financial impacting these individuals, going against expectations and signifying a gap in coverage,” said Jonathan Wiik, principal of healthcare strategy at TransUnion Healthcare, in a statement.

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“These findings indicate that while a greater percentage of these patients lost health insurance coverage due to the pandemic, the moderate change in payer mix could be because they avoided non-essential care and likely did not seek alternative coverage," Wiik said.

The survey also found that 49% of people said the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19 has had an effect on the way they seek medical care. About two-thirds (67%) of Gen Zers and more than half of millennials (55%) and Gen Xers (51%) said this, as did 30% of baby boomers.

Younger generations are also leading the way on consumerism, according to the study.

The vast majority of Gen Z respondents (90%) and millennials (87%) reported spending some time online to research costs for their healthcare, with 59% of Gen Zers and 55% of millennials making choices based on costs.

That's compared to 79% of Gen Xers and 69% of baby boomers who said they researched health costs, and 45% and 36%, respectively, who said they chose care based on those costs.

“Healthcare consumerism is growing, perhaps in part due to the economic and financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Wojczynski, president of TransUnion Healthcare, in a statement.