Younger consumers are less likely to have health insurance, more likely to use alternative medicine
A prophetic tweet once said, “Generation Z will punch a cop in the face but be afraid to make a doctors [sic] appointment on the phone.” ValuePenguin doesn’t have the data to corroborate either of those claims, but researchers did find Gen Zers are more likely to use alternative medicine than their elders. In fact, 67% of consumers ages 18 to 24 have used at least one form of alternative medicine, compared with 44% of baby boomers (ages 56 to 75).
U.S. Census Bureau data finds that Gen Zers and millennials (ages 25 to 40) have the highest uninsured rates among adults, which could contribute to the younger generations being more likely to use alternative medicine.
Health insurance may not help lower the cost of alternative medicine — 31% of respondents have had trouble getting their insurers to cover alternative treatments.
“Health insurers will usually require that you prove that the alternative medicine or care is necessary, and — as such — you’ll have to show some type of proof that you need that specific care,” ValuePenguin insurance analyst Sterling Price says.
Coverage varies by policy and provider, which means some insurers may cover chiropractic care, for example, while others won’t.
Still, cost doesn’t appear to be a major deterrent or advantage of alternative medicine or natural remedies. Only 22% of adults say they use alternative medicine because it’s cheaper than conventional health care.
Most current alternative medicine users — 62% — estimate they spend less than $100 a year on treatments. But given the majority of consumers — 66% — would like to see alternative treatment options covered by health insurance, it’s conceivable more adults would try these options if they were covered.