Millennials Place High Value on Health Insurance for Themselves and Their Pets

Survey shows most millennial pet owners would put pet’s health care over their own
An owner and their poodle playing outside

Health care costs can take a toll on anyone’s budget, but a new survey suggests that many young adults aren’t just focused on paying for their own health needs, but also for their pets.

Health plan comparison site HealthPocket surveyed 1,000 adults for their millennial health insurance survey. They defined millennials in their sample as those between the ages of 20 and 35.

It was clear from the findings that millennials see the value of having health insurance, as 89% reported having coverage. Some have even made career decisions based on their ability to have the health coverage they need, as 40% said they have stayed at a job they did not like because they wanted to keep their health insurance.

However, many young adults also see the value in having health insurance for their pets, with a quarter of pet owners surveyed saying they have pet insurance. In comparison, HealthPocket estimates that among all age groups, only about 5% of pet owners have pet insurance.

Not only were many respondents willing to pay to ensure their pets had access to health care, but most respondents who were pet owners appeared to be more concerned with their pets’ health than their own. In fact, 62% of pet owners surveyed said they would take their pet to the vet before going to the doctor to handle a health need of their own.

Millennials seek alternatives to the doctor

In some cases, respondents believed they could handle their health concerns without visiting a doctor. For example, most — 79% — said they search the internet for information about their symptoms before making a doctor’s appointment. Nearly half — 45% — said they would be willing to try telemedicine before heading to see a doctor in person. Another 21% said they typically have their routine health care needs taken care of at a drop-in clinic rather than a traditional doctor’s office.

Others only used the doctor when they had a health condition that needed treating rather than taking advantage of preventive medicine. In fact:

  • 44% said they don’t schedule an annual physical each year
  • 26% said they don’t see their primary care physician every year

For some, affordability of health coverage is a challenge. The survey found that 47% have asked their parents for help paying medical bills and more than half — 54% — said they have gone without health insurance at some point in their lives.

Others are making sacrifices in order to cover their health needs, with 68% of respondents saying they prioritize health insurance premiums over entertainment options. Also respondents prioritized health insurance premiums and car insurance premiums over other types of insurance such as life insurance.

Studies have shown that younger consumers are often harder hit by health care costs than older consumers. To help you plan, it could be helpful to know the average costs associated with health insurance. If you have a pet, pet insurance can save you money on expensive medical bills over time, or can help you budget for unexpected health conditions your pet may experience.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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