The Millennial generation — which generally refers to individuals born between 1980-1996 — continues to be an important customer segment.
Millennials are now the biggest cohort in the workforce and are opening the majority of small businesses. That means they hold a lot of power, both through the products and services they purchase and by way of social influence.
Companies are motivated to understand Millennials and win them over.
That is not an easy task, considering Millennials show high levels of distrust in major institutions and most businesses. The health insurance industry, which struggles with public opinion more broadly, has a long way to go in terms of gaining Millennials’ business and trust. Brokers should be aware of the three things health insurers, and other insurers, can do to convince Millennial decision-makers that insurance is an important purchase.
1. Costs are a bigger concern than for other generations.
Millennials are more concerned with costs than other generations. Many young adults are saddled with student loan debts while at the same time, salaries have largely stagnated and costs of living continue to increase.
Millennial business owners understand these struggles because many of them have experienced them personally.
Many Millennials would rather go without health insurance than enroll in an unaffordable plan, especially since they are often relatively healthy and may not see an immediate need for healthcare services.
In order to convince Millennial business owners that health insurance makes sense for them, health insurers and brokers will have to prove the value of providing health plans. Insurers need to persuade Millennial business owners of the short-term and long-term benefits. They should create targeted, relatable ads that emphasize coverage of preventive services, which can reduce costly health care services down the road.
Millennials treat health and wellness as a daily, active pursuit, so this message may resonate well with them. Small businesses should also view health benefits as an appealing incentive in order to attract and retain Millennial talent.
2. Transparency is crucial for Millennials.
While costs are important, Millennials also place a high value on other brand characteristics like transparency. Considering the high levels of distrust among this generation, it makes sense that Millennials want clear and honest information.
In a dense and complicated industry like health insurance, companies can benefit from making information as simple as possible. It is especially important to be clear about pricing structure so that potential customers can quickly understand what plan benefits include and don’t include.
Brokers can also play an important role by translating information and making it easy to understand. Insurance providers should also utilize social media and other channels to communicate with Millennials and make it clear that they care about members. According to Ambassador, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand after having a positive experience with them on social media.
3. Millennials prefer digital experiences.
Millennials grew up with technology and are comfortable using the Internet and their smartphones for all sorts of things, from banking to shopping.
Taking care of their health is no exception — Millennials are more likely to engage with insurers digitally and use telehealth services than older age groups. Millennials are coming to expect these capabilities, and some companies are doing better than others. For example, Millennials’ retail expectations are based on the ones they have with Amazon, Spotify, Airbnb, and others.
Insurers who focus on providing more streamlined digital services, like e-commerce marketplaces, online portals, and subscriptions to mobile health solutions, will be in a better position to win over Millennial consumers. Agents should also be ready to highlight these types of offerings to Millennials.
To appeal to more Millennials, health insurers and brokers will have to adapt their business strategies to prove their value, increase transparency, and provide more digital offerings. Millennials are skeptical and cost-conscious, but they also care about their health a great deal. By meeting or exceeding Millennials’ expectations, insurers and brokers can gain loyal customers and increase the number of Millennials who are insured.
— Read Adapting to the Millennial Disruption, on ThinkAdvisor.
Sallie Poblete is the chief executive officer of Wellthie, a company that works to make buying and using health insurance simpler. She previously was a product development leader at a unit of Anthem Inc.