Health of America Report: Millennial health trends in behavioral conditions

October 27, 2020

A new Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) report, “Millennial Health Trends in Behavioral Conditions", found that nearly one third of millennials have a behavioral health condition, with significant increases in the prevalence of conditions like major depression (43%), ADHD (39%), and substance use disorder (SUD) (17%) since 2014.

The report, part of The Health of America Report® series, analyzed a data sample of 55 million commercially insured Blue Cross® Blue Shield® (BCBS) members who belong to the millennial age group, defined as people ages 22 – 37 in 2018, based on the definition developed by Pew Research Center, and provides an update to the initial report on the Health of Millennials published last year.

Report findings

Millennials with behavioral health conditions are at nearly two-times the risk of developing chronic physical conditions such as:

  • Hypertension (1.9 times)
  • Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis (1.9 times)
  • Type II diabetes (2.1 times)
  • Coronary artery disease (2.7 times)

The effects of COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a larger negative health impact on the millennial age group compared to their baby boomer peers. According to a recent BCBSA survey, 92% of millennials said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 70% among baby boomers. Additionally, 80% of millennials believe that their mental health impacts their physical health, compared to 62% of baby boomers. A May 11, 2020, BCBSA report on behavioral health showed that certain negative behaviors — including alcohol consumption, smoking, vaping, and nonmedical drug use — have risen since the pandemic began.

What we’re doing to help

Independence is helping members with anxiety and stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering telemedicine coverage for physical health and behavioral health, online cognitive behavior therapy modules, and stress reduction and improved sleep modules on Achieve Well-Being. We also offer a comprehensive COVID-19 Preparedness Tool developed by Quil, a digital health venture of Independence and Comcast.

BCBSA is hosting a two-day virtual forum on October 28 and 29, 2020, to share new details and insights into how the health care industry can better support and address the unique health needs of both millennials and those in the caregiving community.

Learn more

For more information, read the press release on the Independence Newsroom.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.