Millennials Are Dumping Their Primary Care Doctors, According To A Recent Poll


When you have a cold, do you make an appointment with a doctor or an urgent care center? Well, for millennials, the latter is the go-to spot for health care these days. At least that’s what a recent poll discovered.

According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from July 2018, 45 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they have no primary care doctor. Older groups were much more likely to have one, with only 28 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds and 18 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds responding that they didn’t have a primary care doctor.

Instead, the poll found that millennials are opting to make appointments at urgent care centers and clinics. The reasoning? Convenience and speed. Urgent care centers and clinics can get patients in for appointments faster than traditional primary care physicians.

Kaiser Health News reported that a study by Merritt Hawkins found that the average wait time for patients to see primary care physicians increased from 18.5 days to 24 days between 2014 and 2017. With the on-demand environment that many millennials are becoming accustomed to, that wait time just isn’t cutting it.

Urgent Care Centers Are Everywhere

urgent care center

Wikimedia Commons/Michael Rivera

In 2018, the urgent care center industry reached a new high, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the industry is now worth $18 billion and is expected to grow 5.8 percent by the end of 2018. Additionally, as of June 2017, there are at least 7,639 urgent care centers in the United States.

Even with the convenience of urgent care centers and clinics, the care that millennials are receiving may not be meeting their needs. According to Kaiser Health News, a report in JAMA Internal Medicine found that nearly half of patients who visited an urgent care center for a cold, flu or similar health issue left with unnecessary medicine. Only 17 percent of patients who went to a primary care doctor left with unnecessary medicine.

This news comes at a time when open enrollment for 2019 is just a few weeks away. If you’re planning to update the coverage you have, consider whether you visit a primary care doctor or urgent care centers more often. You’ll want to be sure that your visits are covered by your health insurance so that you save money while also getting the care that you need.

[h/t Axios]


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