New Poll Reveals Significant Changes to Seniors’ Lives and Values Since Onset of COVID-19 Pandemic

Majority of Seniors Report More Time Alone, But Significant Uptake of Technology

(Graphic: Business Wire)

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--()--Findings released today from a new Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) national poll indicate the extent to which seniors’ health – and their values related to health – have been affected since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Overall, four-in-five seniors reported that their lives have changed since the start of the pandemic. For many, these changes may have a lasting effect on what they value going forward and which could shape their choices during the fall 2021 Medicare Annual Election Period, which opened on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, 2021.

The national poll of 1,003 seniors aged 64+ was conducted in partnership with Kelton Global.

When it comes to seniors’ personal health, the social and mental aspects have taken the biggest toll from the pandemic, with one-in-two (51%) seniors reporting that they spend more time alone and 43% indicating that they spend less time doing the things that bring them joy. Senior women are more likely than their male counterparts to report that they feel sad more often (26% v. 15%) and feel less independent than ever before (21% v. 13%). Despite these feelings, when asked if they had met virtually with a mental health specialist during the pandemic, only 3% of seniors indicated that they had done so.

Seniors’ physical health has also been negatively impacted, with one-in-two (52%) seniors reporting that their physical activity level has decreased since March 2020, and one-in-four (26%) having experienced a decrease in the amount of sleep they get each night.

Despite preconceived notions that seniors tend to shy away from technology, such as telehealth and video meeting tools, the poll revealed the opposite: more than four-in-five (84%) seniors used technology to manage their health and wellness during the pandemic. Among them, one-in-three used telehealth to meet with their doctor during the pandemic.

“While we have known about the acute effects the pandemic has had on our nations’ seniors, this new data sheds light on many of the long-lasting effects that will impact how they live their lives going forward,” said Kathy Driscoll, MSN, RN, CCM, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Humana. “Health plans should take particular notice, since it is critical to understand all the evolving needs of seniors – health, social and behavioral – as the industry increasingly moves toward models of ‘whole health’ senior care and coverage.”

The Pandemic’s Effects on Seniors’ Values & Priorities

The pandemic appears to have underscored the preciousness of time and the need to focus on what’s most meaningful. For many seniors, that includes family, friends, travel and getting vaccinated:

  • 75% value spending more time in person with family and friends than before the pandemic.
  • 67% say doing things they value and bring them joy will be at the top of their list following the pandemic.
  • 53% plan to prioritize travel at the end of the pandemic.

The pandemic also exposed social and economic inequities that have changed the way many seniors view the companies with which they do business. That’s especially true for Black seniors, with 42% preferring to give their business to companies that address issues of social equity and equality, compared to 19% of white seniors. Additionally, many more Black seniors than white seniors prefer to give their business to companies that positively impact their community’s health (40% vs 27%) and also consider a company’s values in purchase decisions (33% vs 24%).

“Whether it’s through investments that increase the supply of affordable housing, shoring up access to nutritious food, mitigating loneliness or addressing the digital divide, we are committed to closing health equity gaps, including those that affect too many of our nation’s seniors,” said J. Nwando Olayiwola, M.D., MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer at Humana. “Seniors have every right to expect that their health plan not only supports their personal health, but also the greater health of their community.”

The Pandemic’s Effects on Choosing a Health Plan

When it comes to choosing a health plan, 69% of seniors indicated that their top concern is ensuring a plan has adequate coverage for all their healthcare needs; 67% of seniors said that having access to all their healthcare providers was key in choosing a plan; and 64% stated that low, out-of-pocket costs were a factor in choosing their plan.

And, while 46% of seniors indicated that they would pay closer attention to what is covered in their 2022 health plan, 59% of Black seniors said they would do so.

For information about Humana’s 2022 Medicare offerings, visit or call toll-free 1-800-213-5286 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

About the Survey

This survey was fielded among 1,003 people aged 64+ in the United States by Kelton Global. The survey was conducted online during the period of September 14-21, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

About Humana

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is committed to helping our millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. Our successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a simplified experience that makes health care easier to navigate and more effective.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings
  • Most recent investor conference presentations
  • Quarterly earnings news releases and conference calls
  • Calendar of events
  • Corporate Governance information



Mark Mathis
Humana Corporate Communications

Release Summary

New poll reveals significant changes to seniors’ lives and values since onset of COVID-19 pandemic.


Mark Mathis
Humana Corporate Communications