As ‘Gen Z’ New Yorkers enter the workforce, their healthcare needs and concerns are varying from previous generations. Along with differences in their healthcare needs, how people in their teens to mid-20s learn about healthcare options is changing, too. While older generations took more expert opinions to heart as they selected their healthcare plans, studies find Millennials have been more likely to research online reviews.
Dr. Donald Tavakoli, national medical director for behavioral health, UnitedHealthcare, said Gen Z health concerns are somewhat unique.
“While we know that rates of mental illness were on the rise among adolescents and young adults, the COVID pandemic certainly had an impact, a disruption on social experiences,” he said. “And also, health experiences for many people, from a physical health side.”
One thing Gen Z has in common with most New Yorkers is that they consider price when buying health insurance. One report finds New Yorkers are paying the second-highest healthcare premiums in the nation, topped only by Alaska. On average, a New Yorker pays $8,500 a year – more than $1,000 higher than the national average.
Under the Affordable Care Act, it is possible for some young people to stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26, but this is not always happening. Tavakoli said members of Gen Z are more concerned as a group about making sure their mental health needs are covered.
“From lower-acuity needs that can benefit from coaching or self-directed support, to higher acuity needs that really require more intensive services and wraparound support, including potentially psychiatrists or therapist appointments,” he explained.
A report on Gen Z trends by Oliver Wyman and The News Movement describes this population as expecting a more holistic approach to healthcare, more willing to try alternative forms of care, and concerned about inequalities in the healthcare system.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.