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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Study Finds Millennials are Less Healthy than Generation X Were at the Same Age

By April 24, 2019July 23rd, 2020BCBSA News Company Updates Press Releases
Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America Graphic - wooden blocks with health icons stacked into a pyramid and text that reads: "Are millennials less healthy than Gen Xers?"

Philadelphia millennials are somewhat less healthy than the national average, primarily due to behavioral health conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder

Philadelphia – April 24, 2019 – Millennials in the Philadelphia region are somewhat less healthy than the national average, based on a new Health of America study using the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health IndexSM (BCBS Health Index). This is due primarily to the fact that the region’s millennials were more adversely impacted by behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.

The study found that a third of millennials have health conditions that reduce their quality of life and life expectancy. The report also found that millennials are more frequently diagnosed with eight of the top 10 health conditions than Generation X, and based on their current health status, millennials are more likely to be less healthy when they’re older, compared to Gen Xers.

The biggest health differences between the two generations was the higher impact of physical conditions driven by increased cardiovascular and endocrine conditions, including diabetes. These findings are based on a study of millennials who were between the ages of 34 and 36 in 2017 and Gen Xers who were 34 to 36 in 2014.

Additionally, the report found that millennial women are 20 percent less healthy than their male counterparts, specifically driven by higher rates of major depression, type II diabetes, and endocrine conditions.

In the Philadelphia region, the adverse health impact of behavioral health conditions was 14 percent higher than the national average. Comparatively, the adverse health impact of cardiovascular and endocrine conditions were 4 percent and 2 percent better for Philadelphia region millennials than the national average, respectively.

To identify key drivers of millennial health and how to improve it, BCBS companies will host Millennial Health Listening Sessions across the country. Through these workshops, clinicians and health care experts – some of whom are millennials – will focus on identifying the key drivers of millennial health. The first session will be hosted by Independence Blue Cross on Thursday, April 25 at Convene City View in Philadelphia. 

A recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) survey found that 83 percent of millennials consider themselves in good or excellent health, and that 68 percent of millennials have a primary care physician, compared to 91 percent of Generation X, which is an important factor in preventative care.

“As millennials are poised to pass the boomers as the nation’s largest generation, this report illustrates the importance of encouraging people at younger ages to take a more proactive role in their preventive care and managing their physical and mental health,” said Dr. Richard Snyder, chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross. “Preventative care is critical in ensuring patients adopt lifestyles that prevent chronic conditions or receive the proper diagnosis and treatment before a condition becomes unmanageable, and even deadly. Many conditions can be treated more efficiently, with better outcomes, and at a more affordable price, if brought to a physician’s attention early on.”

The Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series, “The Health of Millennials,” examined the BCBS Health Index, a database of de-identified medical claims from more than 55 million commercially insured members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies. The findings revealed overall health begins to decline at the age of 27.

According to The Pew Research Center, a millennial is someone who was born between 1981 and 1996, and there are nearly 73 million millennials in the U.S. right now – the second largest generation among commercially insured Americans. Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980

This is the 26th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series. For more information, visit BCBSA Health of America.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index quantifies over 200 different health conditions to identify which diseases and conditions most affect Americans’ longevity and quality of life.  It is powered by annual data from more than 41 million BCBS members, commercially insured Americans. BCBS companies are committed to improving Americans’ health by providing data-driven insights to policymakers, community leaders, healthcare professional and business leaders. The BCBS Health Index informs national and local discussions about how to improve U.S. health, health policy and healthcare practice.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.