Stories

Increasing millennial health problems set up future economic challenges

Illustration of two mouths surrounded by 90s style pattern
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Millennials' health problems are on the rise, with future adverse consequences to both their own finances as well as the U.S. economy, according to a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

What they found: As millennials age, their health is declining faster than Generation X, and they're increasingly suffering from conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, depression and hyperactivity.

  • If the pattern doesn't change, millennials' mortality rate could climb by more than 40% compared to Gen-Xers when they were the same age.
  • Under the worst-case scenario, their health care costs will be up to 33% higher than Gen-Xers' at the same age.
  • Poor health could cost millennials more than $4,500 in annual per capita income.

The big picture: The biggest changes are in millennials' behavioral health. In 2017, accidental deaths, including overdoses and suicides, caused 60% of deaths among 25- to 29-year-olds, according to the CDC.

  • "Millennial health patterns can cause declining millennial economic outcomes that in turn can cause further declines in millennial health. This represents a potentially vicious cycle resulting in even higher prevalence of depression and other behavioral health conditions over time," the report concludes.

My thought bubble: Our health spending is already on an unsustainable path. This absolutely does not help.

Go deeper: