April 2, 2019

Tips for Effective Healthcare & Payment Communication With Millennial Patients

Millennials get a bad reputation when it comes to financial responsibility, but not all stereotypes are true. Millennials — born between 1981 and 1996 — are 23 to 38 years old in 2019, have a lot of buying power and consumer influence, and have overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation, amassing over 80 million living members by some estimates. 

Since they have come of age with technology, millennials are more proficient and prolific users of smartphones and are more comfortable with tech in general, making them an excellent target for some of the newest payment technologies. 

Millennials’ financial views were shaped in large part by the Great Recession of 2007–2008 and the wage stagnation that made it difficult for many to secure high paying jobs. Couple these economic trends with record student loan debts, and it’s no wonder some millennials have struggled financially in their early adult years. 

Despite the challenging economic landscape, 34 percent of millennials feel secure in their financial futures, more so than any other generation. 

Healthcare Payment Trends Among Millennials 

Millennials are “digital natives,” which shows in some of these statistics on their payment, technology, financial, and healthcare habits:

  • 90 percent own smartphones
  • 39 percent of all mobile payment users are millennials 
  • 33 percent of millennials under 30 have a credit card, and 55% over 30 have one
  • 54 percent pay their credit card balances in full each month, better than any other generation
  •  40 percent are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, more than any other generation
  • 76 percent with high-deductible health plans participate in a health savings account
  • Only 58 percent trust their doctor, compared to 73 percent of the general population
  • 54 percent have avoided medical treatment due to cost
  • 41 percent request a cost estimate before treatment

Tips for Effective Healthcare Communication With Millennials

Millennials have unique opinions when it comes to healthcare, debt, and technology. Use some of these tips as a launching point to improve patient engagement and revenue cycle efficiency with millennial patients: 

Embrace Millennials’ Comfort With Debt

Millennials have come to terms with debt as part of their lives, but they have also proven to be responsible in paying off debts. 

A Nielsen study found that younger millennials are “more likely to take a longer-term view of their debt situation. They’re the most likely to refinance to lessen debt. They are also among the most likely to feel like they must incur debt to buy the things they want and need.”

Encourage them to sign up for monthly payment plans instead of hitting them up for full payments in the first bill and don’t forget to send them billing statements via convenient email, portal, and text channels, in addition to required print statements.  

Offer Digital Payment Options to Digital Natives

According to Pew research, millennials lead all generations in the use of mobile devices to make purchases (52 percent), pay bills (43 percent), and send/receive money (32 percent). 

Millennials are incentivized more than any other generation to use mobile payments to:

  • • Receive rewards or discounts (70 percent)
  • • Avoid overdraft or check cashing fees (62 percent)
  • • Receive electronic alerts or receipts (57 percent)
  • • Budget or control spending (54 percent)

Despite being attracted by these incentives, millennials are also more skeptical than other generations when it comes to mobile payments. Seventy-four percent are concerned about the loss of funds or identity theft, and 25 percent are worried about running out of data.

Millennials are used to making transactions and managing information on their phones and in apps and appreciate the convenience a self-service patient payment portal offers. Push portal sign-up messaging in your patient communications and highlight the ease and convenience portals offer. 

It’s a good start to assume millennials will prefer phone- and web-based communications but track their preferences and behavioral patterns at an individual level with advanced patient analytics to further refine your outreach strategy.

Don’t Assume Millennials Use Credit Cards

Credit card use is not ubiquitous, especially among millennials. Sixty-one percent of millennials report having at least one credit card, the lowest rate among any generation according to a survey by LendingTree. 

Just as telling as their low ownership rate is the opinion held by 25 percent of millennials that they do not need credit cards because they shouldn’t spend what they don’t have. Fewer than 29 percent of millennials believe today’s world requires credit cards.

Perhaps because of their fears stemming from the Great Recession, millennials are cautious with credit and are more likely to make digital payments tied directly to a bank account or debit card. Be sure your health system caters not only to millennials’ desire for mobile technology but also to their diverse payment methods, including ACH payments.

Build Trust and Transparency

Before they’ve walked into your building, the average millennial patient is already skeptical, annoyed, and cost conscious. The cards are stacked against your organization from the beginning, so you have to work even harder to please millennial healthcare consumers.

The pre-service and post-service appointment setting and billing experiences play an important role in combatting millennials’ general distrust of the healthcare system and influencing their overall satisfaction.

Appeal to their desire for efficient and transparent healthcare by offering conveniences like online appointment setting, automated appointment reminders, up-front cost estimations, and online quick pay options.

Eliminate any confusion or surprise costs from medical bills by making it clear what the patient is responsible for — keep in mind some millennials are new to having their own insurance policies after aging out of their parents’ plans, so transparency is especially important to avoid misunderstandings.

RevSpring Can Help

Integrated payment communication is part of RevSpring’s DNA. We tailor the payment conversation to influence behavior and inspire action. Our segmentation rules and workflows help you become hyper-focused on the patient, understanding their ability to pay and mapping their financial obligations to repayment pathways.

If you’d like to learn more about our comprehensive patient engagement and billing solutions, we’d love to help you. Request a demo to see how we can help your organization meet its goals.