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Humana CEO Bruce Broussard: 'Health should be easy'

Insurer will measure members' population health, focus on paying for value rather than volume

Humana has its eyes set on a healthy task: To make the communities it serves 20 percent healthier by 2020.

The insurer plans to move away from its traditional role of having an episodic relationship with its members to a role that focuses on getting people healthy, Humana CEO Bruce Broussard (pictured right) wrote in a guest post for Forbes.

For some time, the industry has determined someone's health based on vital signs or length of life. But, as Broussard put it, "Health should be easy," with patients using technology to monitor their vital signs and care that emphasizes quality of life, among other advances. 

The insurer recognizes the trend of consumerization, which is why it provides members with tools to virtually tend to their health needs. For instance, members can meet with their physicians over Skype, self-monitor their vital signs and connect with health-related communities, Broussard said.

Additionally, instead of harping on quantitative metrics, Humana will use a survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ask members simpler questions not normally asked--Are you feeling healthy? Are you happy with your level of physical activity? This then, in turn, will help measure an individual's overall health as well as larger population health.

To focus more on population health, Humana recently launched two businesses intended to ease the transition from fee-for-service payment models to value-based reimbursement payment models. Transcend and Transcend Insights will partner with physicians and care teams to prepare them for this new world of population health, reported the Motley Fool.

"We're helping communities address the way their structure and environment impact health," Broussard wrote. "In so doing, we're gradually aligning a health system that's vastly out of balance."

The insurer already is making strides to revamp its image. For instance, Humana's recent sale of Concentra, its occupational health and wellness business, shows that the company intends to shift its strategy of integrating healthcare operations with its core insurance offerings.

Broussard's end-goal comes on the heels of the Department of Human Services' announcement in January to fundamentally reform how it pays providers for treating Medicare patients in the coming years. Ultimately, speeding up plans for value-based payments will cut down the volume of unnecessary procedures while improving patient outcomes.

For more:
- here's Broussard's commentary
- read the Motley Fool piece

Related Articles:
Booming Medicare business could make Humana an acquisition target
Humana to boost membership, efficiency of Medicare Advantage plans
Humana's Concentra sale shows shift in integration strategy
Humana sells Concentra brand for $1 billion
Feds speed plans for value-based payments