Broad availability of health insurance may seem like the golden ticket to solving Americans’ health problems. But, insured or not, it is still up to the individual to be proactive about his or her own health and adhere to the recommendations of medical professionals. To this point, we must examine the impact that personal values, roles, and life stages have on both of these key drivers – adherence and proactivity – in national health. Resonate surveyed over 28,000 people to better understand the values and motivations that impact the experiences of the chronically ill and caregivers.

Medical Adherence and Age

We found that as people get older, they become better patients. Higher percentages of Boomers than Millennials and Gen-Xers asked about treatments (47%), scheduled check-ups (80%), and were comfortable with (80%) or trusted their doctor (65%).

Overall, adherence also increased with age, with 78% of Boomers following doctors’ orders compared to 49% of Millennials and 58% of Gen-Xers. These findings are critical because people who trust their doctor reported seven times the rate of treatment adherence and 74% were comfortable expressing their health concerns.

Bottom line: If trust and comfort are compromised, patient adherence is forfeited and ultimately so is patient well-being.

Health Proactivity, Insurance, and Income

The ACA is moving full speed ahead, but there is no indication that contention around it will subside anytime soon. However, with open enrollment over, website registration issues on the back-burner, and Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation, the true root of the ACA can once again take center stage – the health of the American people.

But while insured patients are more proactive – 43% ask about treatments and 58% schedule checkups – and have stronger trust in their doctors, uninsured patients are much less proactive. This raises concern as to whether newly insured people will continue with subpar health habits. Additionally, while the ACA is aimed at helping those in lower income brackets, it is more affluent patients that initiate conversations and report more comfort and trust in their relationships with their doctors.

A Healthier Tomorrow

While it may pay to focus on the importance of family and cost effectiveness to promote higher rates of compliance, it is crucial to dive deeper into the understanding of what drives patient adherence so it can be further improved. In making adherence data actionable, we can find better methods for better outcomes, identify the right patients before diagnosis, and invest in health literacy and proactivity for the maintenance of the already healthy. (Those not currently suffering from any chronic conditions are generally much less prepared to manage their own treatment.)  If we can employ optimal messaging and strategy, we can help foster better health throughout the nation.

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