A good health insurer understands two things about Gen Z. First, Gen Z wants good digital health experiences. Second, they have different health priorities than other generations.

On the first point about digital: Gen Zers are the first generation to grow up digitally literate, and they maintain high expectations for digital experiences. According to WP Engine’s Gen Z Report, Gen Zers evaluate a firm’s website when deciding whether to trust a firm, as the physical and digital world are nearly inseparable. Gen Z’s daily life is more reliant on the digital experience than previous generations, as

  • 64% expect the internet to drive daily decisions
  • 58% can’t go without internet
  • 56% value digital relationships

While insurers surely realize the importance of digital already, it’s worth repeating that, when it comes to Gen Zers, an insurer’s website or app increasingly is their identity.

As for the second point: Social determinants of health, such as the environment or social factors, drive an individual or group’s health priorities. Gen Zers have come to age during a time of consistent political, environmental and social turmoil, greatly shaping their health priorities. Mental health is a top concern for Gen Zers, with 75% self-reporting anxiety and depression. While previous generations may have maintained separate notions of physical and mental health, Millennials pushed wellness into the forefront, valuing vacations, clean eating and rest. Gen Zers have taken another step forward, prioritizing holistic, interconnected care focusing on the relationship between their physical bodies and mental health and how that informs their wellness.

Insurers hoping to attract and serve Gen Zers need to

  1. build out their apps and websites
  2. in a way that caters to the concerns of this generation

How does Gen Z’s priorities inform their digital health expectations?

Research suggests Gen Zers value three things in digital experiences: content personalization, social awareness and community.

  • Personalization: Gen Zers expect a customizable, personalized experience. WP Engine found 70% of Gen Zers believe in a personalized experience and want a site to intuitively know what they want. 75% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to buy into a product if it is customizable.
  • Social Awareness: Gen Zers require honesty and social awareness from organizations, consistently pushing for additional accountability. With a vast array of options, Gen Zers buy with principles in mind more than any other generation, as authenticity and values are key components of identity.
  • Community: Gen Zers value access to shared experiences—whether in the form of discussion boards, interactive reviews or group chats, they want a discussion. They are not shy when it comes to sharing their perspective.

Healthcare firms can keep those three principles in mind—personalization, social awareness and community—when it comes to building digital health experiences for Gen Z.

Current innovative resources on health insurer’s sites

As Gen Zers continue to enter the marketplace, insurers can leverage and innovate their existing wellness tools to appeal to them. Our recent Health Plan Monitor Report on Online Health and Wellness Centers offers several best practices to health insurers related to improving health and wellness support for members.

One best practice our healthcare researchers identified: Insurers should offer a wide variety of in-depth resources across condition areas to contribute to personalization and community. For example, comprehensive resource centers provide in-depth videos and tools for various condition areas and disease prevention, featuring content that includes education materials, how-to guides and decision recommendations to better support members. Aetna provides learning centers, such as the Maternity Support Center, that feature modules specific to condition or needs. It also offers a new Transgender Support Center, covered in Corporate Insight’s September 2022 Health Plan Monitor Update, that provides several resources to members, such as the ability find and customize a care team, social awareness content on understanding gender and how to be an ally, as well as access to local and online communities for support.

This screenshot shows Aetna's transgender support page, an example of condition-specific resource pages
Aetna Transgender Support Center Page

In our October 2022 Health Plan Monitor Report on Mental Health Coverage and Resources, we found that digital self-assessment tools can help Gen Z users gauge the type of support they need for their health. Self-assessment tools add a sense of personalization to a website or app. UnitedHealthcare and Cigna’s in-house mental health screeners, for example, help users understand their mental health better and point them in the direction of the most appropriate care. These screeners include questions regarding goals, mood, concentration and interest in social activities. UnitedHealthcare’s assessment results in care recommendations, like therapy information and online courses. Cigna’s assessment results direct users to the Employee Assistance Program, in-house Find Care tool and other partnered services, such as MDLive.

This screenshot shows self-assessments from UnitedHealthcare and Cigna
UnitedHealthcare and Cigna Self-Assessments

In the same report on Mental Health Coverage and Resources, we found that most health insurers offer a variety of valuable digital resources, such as online support groups, self-guided learning libraries and mindfulness apps, which can be used for managing issues like depression, substance abuse, and anxiety. An article library is the most common digital resource available to members, utilized by 82% of insurers covered in this report.

Several insurers expand their resources beyond an article library, utilizing resources such as videos, support programs and events.

This chart compares the frequency of different resources offered by the healthcare firms Corporate Insight tracks

Nearly half of the health insurers covered in the Mental Health Coverage and Resources report offer gamified digital programs for members, helping them identify the factors impacting their health. Programs like these utilize comprehensive questionnaires about lifestyle, priorities and values to provide recommendations for forming healthier habits.

Be sure to check out our Insights section for more Healthcare research. Or learn more about what CI’s subscription research services can do for your organization.