The face of the U.S. workforce is changing, and while a portion of it grows older, there is a newer, younger population entering it en masse – the millennial generation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 83.1 million millennials in the U.S. make up 25% of the population, and they now officially outnumber baby boomers. By 2020, they are expected to make up half the workforce, and they will undoubtedly shift claim demographics, making it important to understand how this generation may change workers’ compensation.
This population is defined by much more than their age (which as of 2018, falls into the age range of 22-37, or those born between 1981-1996). This generation grew up with greater access to technology, and by extension greater access to information. They have also experienced incredible socioeconomic change in their lifetimes.
So from a healthcare perspective, what sets millennials apart from previous generations?
DIFFERENTIATOR #1: INCREASING DIVERSITY
In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau found that 44.2% of millennials were classified as minorities, and that 50.2% of children under the age of five were of a minority race. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, 43% of the workforce will be composed of minority workers. What does this mean for workers’ comp? Differences in ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds often present different health concerns, which play an important role in care management and – dependent upon how appropriately care is managed – patient outcomes.
Latino populations are:
- 50% more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease
- 24% more likely to have poorly controlled blood pressure
- 49% less likely to develop cancer
Black populations are:
- 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than white populations at the ages of 35-64
- Twice as likely to die from heart disease than white populations
- More likely to develop chronic diseases at early ages
Considering that workers’ comp claims with a comorbid diagnosis can have twice the medical cost of other claims, understanding the health impacts of patient diversity is paramount to effectively managing care.