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Study Finds Millennials are Less Healthy than Generation X Were at the Same Age

April 25 - Posted at 1:00 PM Tagged: , , , , ,

A third of millennials have health conditions that reduce their quality of life and life expectancy, according to a new study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index (BCBS Health Index). The report found that millennials had substantially higher diagnoses for eight of the top 10 health conditions than Generation X, and based on their current health status, millennials are more likely to be less healthy when they’re older, compared to Gen Xers. These findings are based off of a study of millennials who were between the ages of 34 and 36 in 2017 and Gen Xers who were 34 to 36 in 2014. 

The biggest health differences between the two generations was the higher impact of physical conditions driven by increased cardiovascular and endocrine conditions, including diabetes. 

A recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) survey found that 83% of millennials consider themselves in good or excellent health, and that 68% of millennials have a primary care physician, compared to 91% of Generation X, which is an important factor in preventative care.

“Based on these findings, we’re seeing that millennials are not seeking preventative care and it’s not only having an effect on their immediate health, but will significantly impact their long-term health as well,” said Vincent Nelson, MD, vice president, Medical Affairs for BCBSA. “With millennials on track to become the largest generation in the near future, it’s critical that they’re taking their health maintenance seriously. Our plan is to address this issue now to ensure millennials, and all Americans, take a proactive role in maintaining their health and wellbeing.”

The Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report series, “The Health of Millennials,” examined the BCBS Health Index, a database of de-identified medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies. The findings revealed overall health begins to decline at the age of 27. 

Additional findings from the study are: 

  • Millennial women are 20% less healthy than their male counterparts, specifically driven by cases of major depression, type II diabetes and endocrine conditions. 
  • Millennials in southern states, particularly Alabama, West Virginia and Louisiana are the least healthy, while millennials in western states, such as California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado are the healthiest. 

To identify key drivers of millennial health and how to improve it, BCBS companies will host Millennial Health Listening Sessions across the country. Through these workshops, BCBS companies will hear from millennials, leading health care experts, employers and digital leaders on how to improve the health of millennials. Independence Blue Cross will kick-start the listening sessions by hosting the first one on April 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

A millennial is someone who was born between 1981 and 1996, and there are nearly 73 million millennials in the U.S. right now – the second largest generation among commercially insured Americans. Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. 

This is the 26th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series. For more information, visit

Reminder: Healthcare Marketplace Open Enrollment ends March 31, 2014

March 06 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you are interested in signing up for medical coverage through the Marketplace, please note that you only have until the end of the open enrollment period (March 31, 2014) to sign up for coverage effective either April 1, 2014 or May 1, 2014. The effective date of your coverage in the Marketplace depends on when your application is submitted and processed.


The only way you will be able to enroll in a Marketplace medical plan outside of the open enrollment period is if you qualify for a “special enrollment” due to a qualifying event. A qualifying event is a change in your life that would make you eligible to sign up for coverage outside of open enrollment such as a marriage, divorce, birth or adoption, moving to a new state, loss of employment or loss of coverage due to changes in employment, etc. With employer based medical coverage, you typically have 30 days from the date of the qualifying event to enroll or make changes to your coverage due to a qualifying event, but the Marketplace allows you 60 days from the qualifying event to make changes.


You can enroll on either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time during the year as there is no limited open enrollment periods for these programs. You only need to qualify for these programs to be eligible. You can either complete a Marketplace application to find out if you are eligible for either program or contact your state agencies for further information.


The tentative next open enrollment dates for the Marketplace are November 15, 2014 through January 15, 2015, however please note that these dates are subject to change. 

Poor Worker Health Costs Businesses Billions

May 24 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , ,

According to a recently released by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, lost productivity due to workers’ poor health is costing the U.S. approximately $84 billion a year.


On average, 77% of workers either had one or more chronic conditions or had a higher-than-normal body mass index (BMI), according to the Gallup index, which surveyed 94,366 American adults working in 14 occupational categories. The respondents with chronic conditions or a high BMI reported missing work about one-third of a day more each month, on average, than those workers with a normal BMI and no chronic conditions. That lost time costs U.S. businesses from $160 million a year for agricultural workers to $24.2 billion a year for white collar professionals.


The index, conducted from Jan. 2 – Sept 10, 2012, asked respondents if they had ever had a health condition such as asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or recurring physical pain in the neck, back, knee, or leg.


The index collected data from the respondents on their height and weight so researchers could calculate their BMI. Respondents were classified as “obese” if they had a BMI of 30 or higher, as “overweight” if they had a BMI of 25-29, or as “normal” if they had a BMI of 18.5-24.9.


The 14 occupational categories that researchers examined were: professionals (excluding physicians, nurses, and teachers), management, services, clerical or office, sales, school teaching, nursing, transportation, manufacturing or production, business ownership, installation or repair, construction or mining, physicians, and agriculture.

86% of transportation workers had higher than normal BMIs or at least one chronic condition- the highest among the 14 categories. They reported missing 0.41 more work days a month than their healthier counterparts.


“This amounts to an estimated $3.5 billion in absenteeism costs per year that would be recouped” if employees were not overweight or had not been diagnosed with a chronic condition, researchers wrote.


As employers increasingly engage in improving the health of their workers, including implementing and strengthening the effectiveness of wellness programs, there are substantial potential savings that remain on the table from getting more employees to work each day as their health improves over time.

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) TV’s lineup just got a bit tastier with the addition of a new program: The Better Cook. The new show is done in partnership with General Mills Live Better America. The show is filmed in the General Mills test kitchen and features healthy recipes from the website.


The show features celebruty chef Daniel Green- a kitchen pro who specializes in health cooking. Chef Green is a regular on ShopNBC and hosts Kitchen Takeover on Twin Cities Live. He has also been a guest chef on The Food Network, The Travel Channel, BBC Two, and NTV7 Malaysia.


Chef Green focuses on three types of dishes on The Better Cook:


  • Healthified Cooking- making favorite dishes lighter without losing flavor


  • Power Pairings- showing what foods when combined will deliver more nutritional power


  • Off the Shelf- easy ways to make packaged foods a healthier part of your diet


You can easily print and share recipes used on the show also. New shows are being added regularly. Tune in today at:

Our payroll stuffer this month will focus on the important topic of Nutrition. It covers topics important to your employees such as:


Increasing Your Nutrition IQ

More and more people are learning to read the labels when grocery shopping, but so you know what all the terms mean? Learn how to decode a few of the more confusing food label phrases.


Three Surprising Superfoods

Learn about the many health benefits of mushrooms, quinoa, and pistachio nuts.


Surprising Fact about Mushrooms: Mushrooms as medicine have been used for centuries in Asian cultures. Today, maitake and shiitake mushrooms are being studied for potential cancer-fighting properties. Studies are being done to see if the shiitakes may also help boost the immune system and fight heart disease.


Never heard of quinoa? It is a grain with a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a nutty flavor when cooked. It is higher in protein than other grains and the protein is provides is a complete protein meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids just like animal protein.


Pistachios rank as one of the most popular nuts that contain high amounts of phytosterols. These are substances that are known to help lower cholesterol in your body.


Why Kids Overeat and How You Can Help Them Stop

Overweight and obese kids face serious health concerns. The extra weight puts kids and teens at risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. By understanding why kids overeat, you can help your child get on the right path to a healthy weight.


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