Research Outline

Medicare Population Device Usage


To develop information about device usage (type of device, operating system, version) among medicare users over 65 and the special needs population who uses medicare. This information will be used to market an app targeted to these user groups.

Early Findings

Overview of Medicare Population

Over 65 Device Usage

  • A Pew Research Center study found that 91% of seniors, individuals 65 and over, use a cell phone (smartphone or other mobile device). Fifty-three percent use a smartphone and 39% cellphone (not smartphone).
  • In 2019, about 12% of seniors said they were dependent on their smartphone (use a smartphone, but do not use broadband at home), compared with 22% of those 18-29, 18% 30-49, and 14% 50-64.
  • As of 2018, 32% of seniors owned a tablet.
  • Some top smartphone devices recommended for those 65+ include senior-oriented features in their design, such as a large screen, larger font sizes, and easy-to-use interface. These devices may also offer features such a voice-activation or hearing-assisted features.
  • Some top-ranked devices for seniors include the Jitterbug Smart 2 (model #2), which is marketed as "the simplest smartphone ever", with a large screen and simplified features, and Motorola Mota e4 Plus, which includes a large display, fingerprint sensor, and a long-lasting battery. Ulefone Power 6 (model #,B07TC6W4FW), which runs on Android, and Blackview BV 5500, which also runs on Android, were also listed as top smartphones for seniors.
  • In terms of Apple devices, the iPhone 7 is considered by some to offer the most senior-friendly features of all iPhone versions.
  • In terms of tablets, ASUS Vivo Tab RT, Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, and Apple iPad mini MD531LL/A were ranked as the safest, easiest-to-use, tablets for seniors in a recent study by Assisted Livng Today.

Disabled or Special Needs Population Device Ownership

  • Disabled individuals who are eligible for medicare may qualify based on a range of mental and physical disabilities.
  • These disabilities are typically long-term, preventing one from finding suitable work and wages due to the disability.
  • Disabled individuals are less likely to own a smartphone than those without a disability. A 2017 survey noted that 58% of those with a disability claimed to use a smartphone, compared to 80% who did not have a disability.
  • Specific device usage will be closely-linked to the specific disability, whether it be cognitive, physical, or sensory.
  • Both iOs and Android devices offer features for disabled individuals, including voice-enabled screen readers for blind persons, switch controls and access for those who may not be able to use a touchscreen, or features that support hearing or learning disabilities.
  • The Nokia 3.1 Android 9.0 PIE and the Apple iPhone 8Plus were both cited as leading phones for both the disabled and seniors, ranked on design simplicity, audio and size of the phone.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • The two primary user groups for Medicare are seniors (those over 65), who comprise the majority of Medicare users, and long-term disabled (under 65, qualifying under social security disability, who could have cognitive, physical, or sensory disabilities, and are unable to work). Our research efforts focused on understanding device usage among these 2 groups.
  • While we did uncover recent statistics around total current mobile device usage, our initial hour of research did not reveal statistics pointing the current device models used by seniors or the long-term disabled community.
  • We therefore expanded the search to look at recent review sites, rankings, and ratings for the top device models recommended for seniors, which generally offer senior-friendly features, such as large screens and features for the visual or hearing-disabled. Device recommendations for seniors and the disabled community were often very similar, and therefore, our recommended research paths focus on these groups in totality.