Nov 7, 2019

Increasing millennial health problems set up future economic challenges

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.

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The millennial retirement savers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In an age where “ok boomer” is a rallying cry for young people fed up with older people who don’t understand them, stereotypes abound of millennials spending money poorly.

The big picture: Labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci tells Axios that millennials don't behave differently than prior generations — they're just thrust into different circumstances. They’re less likely to be offered pensions or qualify for employer-sponsored retirement plans, so they start saving later in life and accumulate less compared to their predecessors. Two-thirds of millennials have no retirement savings at all.

Go deeperArrowNov 16, 2019

Mental health coverage is getting worse

Data: Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

As suicide and overdose rates have increased, mental health and substance abuse insurance coverage has gotten worse, according to a new Milliman report commissioned by the Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute.

Why it matters: Behavioral health treatment often isn't covered by insurance, and it's often unaffordable — including for patients for whom treatment is a matter of life and death.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019 - Health

Disparities persist in mental health coverage

Privately insured people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction or mental health conditions pay more out-of-pocket for care and are more likely to see out-of-network providers than people with chronic physical health conditions, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

Between the lines: These costs prevent people from receiving care. The study used data from 2012–2017, a time frame during which the opioid epidemic was ravaging communities across the country.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019