State of Social Health Report

One of the largest single datasets on loneliness studied

Papa’s inaugural “State of Social Health Report: A Look at Loneliness in America’s Older Adults and People with Disabilities” features insights to help move the needle on improving whole health from an epidemiological study of nearly 29,000 Medicare Advantage members, including people living with disabilities and low income older adults.

What we’ve found reinforces what we at Papa have long known: people need people for their health. Real human help is needed to overcome the barriers that exist to meaningfully drive engagement and advance whole health for all—particularly for those facing higher unmet needs and disparities.


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Key takeaways

Report findings highlight existing barriers to social health, how unmet needs vary between Medicare Advantage subpopulations, and the critical need to reduce loneliness and provide social support through human connection.
Poor social health is widespread.
There’s a clear connection between loneliness and health equity.
Loneliness is an underlying issue.
Transportation is a critical social driver of health.


The study included 28,588 Medicare Advantage (MA) members who answered survey questions between January and June 2023, making it among the largest datasets on loneliness studied.


Average age: 73
31% male
37 states represented

Subpopulations included:

70% traditional MA
17% people with disabilities
13% DSNP members
<1% Veterans

Additional Resources

Improving outcomes for DSNP members
Read Papa’s research about the impact of social support services on the overall health of DSNP members.
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Reducing Total Cost of Care
A recent claims-based study with a health plan partner showed that companion care services reduced the total cost of care.
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How Social Support Improves Healthcare Utilization
Recent Papa research shows that members who received social support showed reduced rates of hospital readmission and emergency department use.