As we enter the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act this fall, attention will inevitably turn to driving enrollment among the so-called “young and healthy” segment of 18- to 34-year-old consumers, many of whom are Hispanics. It has been well documented that the initial rollout of the ACA in the fall of 2013 saw initial challenges in enrolling “young and healthy” Hispanics. Numerous studies and news reports identified three key challenges to Latino enrollment:
- Lack of trust
- Lack of awareness (Commonwealth Fund survey)
- Need for one-on-one education
The success in driving Latino enrollment during the final month of Covered California open enrollment (252,000 signed up) was largely attributed to expanded community partnerships, face-to-face interactions and in-language support. However, there has been limited research into the mindset of Hispanic Millennials on the topic of health to better understand some of the potential psychographic drivers behind their decisions to enroll and their underlying attitudes and beliefs related to health care.
The recently published second wave of the Hispanic Millennial Project research study, entitled “Hispanic Millennials & Healthcare,” provides one of the first glimpses into the health-related attitudes and beliefs of Hispanic Millennials. The study dives deep into Hispanic Millennial motivators and mindsets around health, wellness, diet, exercise, adoption of health related technology, health care insurance knowledge and enrollment and attitudes towards the ACA.
Some of the key findings of the research show Hispanic Millennials:
- Rate their overall health more positively compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
- Define health as having a good diet, feeling good, and exercising
- Report lower levels of stress compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
- View diabetes as the illness they are most concerned about getting in the future
- Consult both their doctor and the Internet when seeking health-related information or advice
- Have adopted technology into their health maintenance
The Hispanic Millennial Project also provides an interesting look at the differences between Hispanic Millennials and non-Hispanic Millennials, older Hispanics (35+), as well as comparing foreign-born vs. U.S. born Hispanic Millennials and Hispanic Millennials based on gender and income. These comparisons uncover some interesting insights, such as:
- When compared with non-Hispanic Millennials, Hispanic Millennials are more likely to resist seeing a doctor unless it’s absolutely necessary and when they do consult a doctor, they are more likely to get a second opinion
- Foreign-born Hispanic Millennials are more likely to define health as “having no physical problems” while U.S. born Hispanic Millennials are likely to define health as “feeling good” or “being fit”
- Hispanic Millennials are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
- Foreign-born Hispanic Millennials are significantly more likely to choose traditional home remedies over medicine
- Male Hispanic Millennials are more optimistic about their health than Hispanic Millennial females
The research also reveals some very important points of tension that characterize the health and wellness attitudes of Hispanic Millennials. These points of tension center on trust and frequency of doctor visits, inner well-being versus outside appearance, and the trustworthiness of online health information.
The big takeaways for health care marketers are that Hispanic Millennials have nuanced and sophisticated attitudes about health. They are early adopters of health technology. And while they continue to live in two worlds when it comes to health, many of their traditional cultural influences are becoming more aligned with mainstream attitudes embraced by non-Hispanic Millennials.
An edited version of this post ran on MediaPost Engage:Hispanic on September 4, 2014.