Gen Zers and Millennials Are Giving up Medical Care Because of Costs

  • Two-thirds of young adults skipped medical appointments in 2024 due to high health care costs.
  • Expensive medical bills are a major financial concern for most adults, leading them to forgo care.
  • Even with insurance, young adults struggle to cover their medical costs.

About two-thirds of young adults avoided a doctor’s appointment last year because of high health costs.

This is according to a report published in March, commissioned by insurance company Assurance IQ and carried out by Wakefield Research. Millennials and Generation Z are hardest hit by health care costs, and this constant financial stress could harm their health, according to the report, which surveyed 5,000 Americans between Dec. 7 and Dec. 20 about their concerns financial and barriers to well-being.

Expensive medical bills are a major financial concern for most adults. The Federal Reserve found that more than a quarter of Americans went without medical care in 2022 — including seeing a doctor, filling a prescription or going to a follow-up appointment — because of spending.

Grace Cochran, 25, told Business Insider in February that she recently had to borrow insulin pump supplies from another Type 1 diabetic. She has health insurance, but can’t afford the costs. $1,800 from the prescription for her insulin pump, she said.

Cochran told BI that even with health insurance, the costs of Doctor appointments, medical supplies, and insulin to manage your diabetes are important.

“I don’t ration things in a serious way, but I am more conscious of the supplies I use and try to make things last longer,” she previously told BI. “This is how I avoid spending all this money at once.”

Even with health insurance, many young people struggle to pay their medical bills

About three in four Gen Zers and millennials reported paying unexpected medical bills in 2023, compared to 63% of Gen Xers and 40% of baby boomers, according to the report. And Gen Zers reported avoiding medical appointments twice as much as baby boomers.

Most adults receive health insurance through Medicaid or through their employer. However, according to the report, more than a quarter of Gen Z and millennials say they don’t have enough coverage to meet their needs.

Many young people in lower-paying jobs feel unable to afford insurance costs. Just over half of Americans who earn less than $75,000 a year can meet their deductibles, according to the report.

The average annual entry-level salary in 2024 is $43,472 without bonuses, according to Glassdoor. Since Gen Z and some millennials are newer to the workforce, many are in these entry-level positions.

The rising cost of living in most cities can also mean that younger workers struggle to build up savings to pay for unexpected medical bills.

And with the recent rise in the unemployment rate, Many Gen Zs and millennials say they are concerned about a challenging recruiting landscape, particularly when health benefits are tied to employment.

High medical costs can harm young people’s health

Not only can financial problems prevent young people from seeking medical care, the report finds that health care bills can lead to social isolation.

Young people are more likely to report high levels of financial stress and to rate their social relationships as “poor.” Eight in 10 Gen Zers also reported being stressed on a daily basis – more than other generations, according to the report.

Chronic stress and loneliness can contribute to long-term mental health problems and illnesses, which can lead to higher medical costs over time.

And, due to the high cost of many mental health services, Insurance IQ said some young people are not seeking the psychological support they need.

Are you a Gen Zer or Millennial who has delayed medical care due to cost? Are you ready to share your story? Contact this journalist at


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