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Millennial Health: Why Is Demand Growing for Healthcare Services?


Millennials — individuals born between 1981 and 1996 — are seeking healthcare services at a higher rate than the generational cohorts that precede them. For instance, millennials with common chronic medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension use the healthcare system far more than Gen Xers with the same conditions, according to a 2023 white paper by UnitedHealthcare and Health Action Council. They also seek out more healthcare services for their children.


Why is the demand for healthcare services rising among millennials? Delve into millennial health trends and explore how different generations are influencing healthcare needs and norms in the U.S. today.

Factors Contributing to Millennial Health Trends

Several factors are contributing to millennials’ increased use of certain healthcare services, which is changing the U.S. healthcare system’s approach to chronic health treatment, mental health treatment, and health education.

Chronic Health Conditions

So what explains the fact that millennials with chronic conditions are seeking healthcare services at a higher rate than older individuals? One factor to consider is that millennials have witnessed the rise of chronic diseases and lifestyle-related health issues in previous generations. They aim to avoid similar health challenges and are therefore more proactive in adopting preventive measures.


Dr. Mykale Elbe, director of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) nurse practitioner program and assistant professor of nursing at Maryville University, has described the forward-thinking approach millennials are taking toward diabetes. “While their cost for diabetes care is higher, the control of their diabetes is better than older populations,” Elbe explained in an interview with the New York Post.


By focusing on preventive care such as screenings and checkups, millennials are more likely to catch potential health problems early and address them before they become more severe.

Increased Awareness

Another factor in millennials’ use of healthcare resources has to do with their increased health awareness. As a group, millennials are more likely to engage in regular exercise, practice mindfulness, adopt healthier diets, and seek more preventive care than their predecessors. Why? One reason is that millennials can easily research and interpret health information online. Millennials have access to a wealth of reliable websites, medical blogs, and online health communities that provide educational content, symptom checklists, and guidance on different health topics. This information helps millennials make informed decisions about their health, understand symptoms, and seek medical care when needed.


Another reason is the rise in healthcare costs. Millennials have experienced the increasing financial burden of healthcare costs during their adult lives, including rising insurance premiums tied to employment. As a result, they are more inclined to invest in preventive care to avoid costly medical treatments in the future. By prioritizing regular checkups and screenings, millennials hope to detect and address health issues early, potentially saving money in the long run and living longer, healthier lives.


This increased demand for preventive care services has prompted healthcare systems and providers to adapt and cater to the needs of millennials. As a result, there has been a growing focus on preventive care programs, personalized wellness plans, and digital health solutions that align with this generation’s preferences and values.

Breaking Stigma

Millennial health priorities also include their mental health. Millennials are advocating for greater mental health support resources and reframing mental health as a core component of overall health and well-being.


According to Elbe, millennials and younger generations are “breaking down the stigma” around behavioral and mental health. “Since the pandemic,” she said, “healthcare providers in all settings have seen a surge in patients having mental health disorders and seeking help.”


Millennials’ increased access to information has empowered them to find community and online resources related to mental health. Online resources are available for an array of mental health challenges, such as navigating life with depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other treatable mental health disorders. In breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health support, millennials are seeking professional mental health resources at levels not seen in previous generations.

Healthcare Advancements

Advances in healthcare have significantly improved the accessibility of healthcare services for millennials, providing them with convenient options when seeking medical care. These are among the key advancements that have enhanced the accessibility of healthcare services:


  • Online Appointment Scheduling: The widespread adoption of online healthcare service scheduling platforms allows patients to book appointments easily and conveniently through websites or mobile applications.
  • Urgent Care Clinics: The availability of urgent care clinics has expanded in recent years, providing patients with convenient alternatives to emergency rooms and traditional healthcare settings. Urgent care clinics offer extended hours, walk-in appointments, and a range of services, including minor injury treatment, vaccinations, diagnostic tests, and basic preventive care. These clinics provide quicker access to healthcare professionals, reducing the need for lengthy wait times.
  • Telemedicine and Virtual Care: The rapid development of technology has led to the rise of telemedicine and virtual care options. Millennials, who are generally technology-savvy and accustomed to digital solutions, can now consult with healthcare professionals remotely. Telemedicine enables them to seek medical advice, receive diagnoses, and obtain prescriptions from any location with internet access.
  • Digital Health Apps and Wearable Devices: The proliferation of digital health apps and wearable devices has empowered millennials to take control of their health. These technologies enable users to track various health measures, such as their physical activity, sleep patterns, heart rate, and nutrition. Patients can access personalized health data, set goals, and receive feedback on their progress.


These advances in healthcare have made it more convenient and accessible for patients to access healthcare services. Technological advancements align with millennials’ preferences for convenience, efficiency, and digital solutions.

The Strained Healthcare System

As the baby boomer generation ages and requires more medical care, the healthcare system faces increased pressure. Physician and nursing shortages are also putting a strain on the healthcare system. “With this shortage, we are seeing longer wait times for patients to be seen by healthcare providers,” Elbe said.


Millennials’ extensive use of healthcare services might add to that strain, which is prompting healthcare leaders to think strategically about how to expand the system to meet demand. By leveraging urgent care clinics, telemedicine, online appointment scheduling, digital health apps, and online resources, millennials can seek timely care, monitor their health, and engage in proactive healthcare management.


Additionally, the healthcare system needs more millennials to join the healthcare industry as doctors, emergency responders, and healthcare administrators — and especially nurses. As adept medical professionals, millennials can serve the general public as healthcare leaders.

Meet the Rising Demand for Healthcare Services

To pursue an impactful career that supports millennial health and well-being and meets the growing demand for healthcare services, nurses should consider enrolling in an advanced nursing certificate or degree program that can set them up for success.


Maryville University’s online post-master’s nurse practitioner (NP) certificate programs do just that. Students can gain the clinical skills and knowledge needed to earn nurse practitioner certification in one of five critical areas: family practice, adult-gerontology primary care, adult-gerontology acute care, pediatric primary care, or psychiatric mental health care. Maryville also offers master’s and doctorate degrees with nurse practitioner concentrations.


Expand your nursing practice with a certificate or degree from Maryville University.


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