When you’re young and generally healthy, going to the doctor is often the last thing on your mind. Sure, heading in for an antibiotic when you’re hit with strep throat makes sense, but routine checkups don’t seem like a priority.
Despite this youthful optimism, millennial health is important — it just tends to take on different forms than it does for older generations.
As an employer, how do you get the younger members of your workforce to start thinking about health and taking advantage of their benefits? Here are some strategies you can use to help your millennial staff members get the most out of your health care plan.
Emphasize Free Preventive Care
Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone is entitled to certain preventive care exams free of cost. These doctor’s visits are designed to catch potential problems before they turn into serious issues. Covered exams include screenings for cancer and high blood pressure.
Immunizations are also included. This may surprise millennial employees, especially if they were vaccinated as children, but immunity doesn’t necessarily last forever. The U.S. government even provides a recommended schedule of vaccines for adults.
Preventive care benefits give you an opportunity to educate younger staff members and get them thinking about ways they can utilize their health care plan.
Talk About Mental Health
While many employees in their 20s or early 30s may feel physically invincible, the same isn’t always true when it comes to mental health. Millennials are no strangers to anxiety: 36 percent say their stress levels have increased over the past year, according to the American Psychological Association.
Depression screenings are included under the preventive health care clause. And for those who need ongoing treatment for mental health issues, your plan may include benefits for psychologist or psychiatrist visits. Remind employees of these aspects of their plan so they know that resources are available if they need them.
Help Them Find In-Network Doctors
You want your employees to feel that their health care costs are manageable. Most plans require you to use certain doctors or pay considerably more to go out of network. To keep their medical expenses down, your employees will need to check if their doctor is covered, and if not, they’ll have to find a different physician.
Millennials may not be as well versed in finding a doctor, or they may have just moved to the area, so encourage them to use your insurance provider’s website to search for covered primary-care physicians. They can also ask friends, co-workers and family members for referrals on doctors who are in-network.
Start this discussion with your employees as soon as they’re hired so they don’t end up frantically searching when they do get sick. Remind them that if they establish a relationship with a primary-care doctor through a preventive screening visit now, they’ll be all set in the future.
Explain the Importance of Coverage
Lots of young people are in great health, and many may feel that insurance premiums are an unnecessary cost. But it’s important for them to understand that their benefits are there to ensure they’re not devastated by a medical issue should one arise.
Flu complications could require hospitalization. A trip down the stairs might result in a broken ankle. Not to mention, regular checkups and preventive care today can help them steer clear of problems down the road.
Millennial health helps lay the foundation for a lifetime of wellness, and your guidance can help your younger staff members understand how to use their benefits to build a healthier future.
This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.
Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she interviewed and hired employees, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. Her writings have appeared in Inc. Magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, US News, Readers Digest and other publications. She focuses on helping businesses nurture great employees and helping employees enjoy great careers.