Humana CEO: Member engagement key to cutting healthcare costs

Fitness programs, lifestyle medicine can reduce claims

Humana's recent success in controlling costs has come in large part from an emphasis on member engagement, according to CEO Bruce Broussard.

This effort focuses on "lifestyle medicine" as an approach to treating chronic conditions, said Broussard, who spoke at an event covered by Louisville Business First. As FierceHealthPayer previously reported, the approach focuses less on treatment and more on guidance--healthy cooking classes and low-impact exercise, for example.

Other consumer engagement efforts include home inspections, which can reduce "trip-and fall" hazards for seniors, and HumanaVitality, a fitness rewards program that saves participants more than $600 in annual claims costs, Broussard said.

As the Humana CEO sees it, healthcare is becoming increasingly consumer-based. "We're not just treating a symptom, we're treating the individual as a whole. It not only saves money but it improves their lifestyle," he said, according to the article.

These savings apply to the customer as well as the insurer. After all, many of Humana's costs come from what it pays out in claims--and heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions cost the United States more than $2 trillion a year.

For example, in the most recent quarter, Humana's costs and expenses rose 20 percent. One factor was high-priced specialty drugs used to treat common chronic conditions.

Another was the cost of participating in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. That investment appears to be paying off, though. The ACA has helped boost insurance enrollment at Humana, FierceHealthPayer previously reported, as the insurer added more than 200,000 members in the first year of open enrollment. Overall, Broussard believes exchange participation will increase competition and lower prices for consumers.

The combination of boosted enrollment and cost savings through customer engagement seems to sit well with Humana shareholders, Louisville Business First noted: The insurer's share price has more than doubled in the last two years.

For more:
- read the Louisville Business First article

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