Medicare Advantage

Maria Hughes, Humana’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, joined other business leaders in Louisville this week to talk about growth, talent acquisition and opportunities for 2018.

The panel discussion was hosted by Louisville Business First as part of its Grow Louisville event.

Maria said “it is vital to create a stimulating environment where diverse workers can be themselves and feel like each voice is heard and respected,” the newspaper reported. She also noted that “it is vital to attract the right talent that can fit well within a team structure.”

“It’s not just the mix, but making the mix work,” she said. “It’s having the environment in which people feel they can thrive.”

Click here to read the full article in Louisville Business First (subscription required).

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Forbes.com has reported on Humana’s value-based care report, noting that “As Humana Moves Doctors To Value-Based Pay, Medicare Costs Fall.”

“Humana’s shift from fee-for-service medicine to value-based payments for doctors is reducing costs and improving quality of care for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans,” the story said, citing the study.

The study found that “medical costs were 15% lower in Humana Medicare Advantage plans that paid physicians via value-based models last year compared to costs of those in traditional fee-for service Medicare,” the story noted.

Other highlights of the study include the fact that providers in value-based reimbursement model agreements with Humana had 26 percent higher Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) scores compared to providers in standard Medicare Advantage settings based on an internal attribution method. Also, Humana Medicare Advantage members affiliated with providers in value-based reimbursement model agreements experienced 6 percent fewer hospital inpatient admissions and 7 percent fewer emergency department visits than members in standard Medicare Advantage settings. The number of preventive screenings was 8 percent higher for breast cancer and 13 percent higher for colorectal cancer.

“The Humana study is the latest evidence of the potential value-based models have at slowing or reducing spending on Medicare,” Forbes wrote.

Read the full Forbes.com story here.

You can access the full value-based care report here.

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On a beautiful October morning, the twice weekly Humana walking group was joined by a new participant, marathoner Kathrine Switzer. They peppered her with questions. What shoes does she wear? (She is an Adidas athlete.) What does she eat the night before a big run? (She loads up on carbs, but has also been trying to eat more protein, such as nut butters.) How does she handle aches, pains and injuries? (REST.)

Kathrine acknowledged that at age 70 she was the young one in the group, which includes a walker who will turn 90 in November and a couple of participants recovering from surgeries. After they all walked together, Kathrine stood in front of an even larger crowd and talked about how the body continues to improve as long as it is challenged.

“Look at those of you I walked with this morning,” she said. “When you started walking together, maybe you couldn’t go very far, but now you’re up to a mile or two or three.”

Kathrine regularly runs long distances, but during her presentation she said the SilverSneakers® Stretch class at the Louisville neighborhood location “killed” her, in the best way. “At any age, the body can get better… the more you do, the more you can do.””

Her message was well-received. One 84-year-old in the audience told Kathrine she had recently started running again. Kathrine applauded her and every other person in attendance who was getting up and getting moving.

“Every time you take a class here or every time you walk with your friends, you come back and you feel much more optimistic,” Kathrine said. “Suddenly everything becomes more positive and optimistic. That’s the way to go into your life.”

One of Kathrine’s next challenges is the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5. And she will have a new group of fans rooting for her from Louisville, Kentucky.

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Humana’s President and CEO Bruce Broussard will discuss health care transformation and innovation at AHIP’s Medicare Conference in Washington, D.C., next week.

He’ll talk about the role health plans play in helping Medicare Advantage (MA) members achieve their best health, as well as offer his thoughts on the future of health care and the importance of integrated care.

He shared some of his thoughts ahead of the event, and you can read that Q&A here.

 

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The most highly rated TV programs feature frequent ageist language and under-representation of seniors and could have impacts on health, according to research from an ongoing partnership between Humana and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Led by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., USC’s study analyzed 1,609 speaking characters in the most popular Nielsen-rated television shows that aired between June 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017, to determine how characters aged 60 and over are portrayed. In tandem, Humana conducted a quantitative survey of people aged 60 and over to explore their thoughts on aging, specifically to understand which attributes are directly linked to better health.

Both studies examined ageism, and the results indicate that it potentially has a negative impact not only on optimism, self-esteem and confidence, but also the physical and mental health of aging Americans.

The research also finds that among seniors who experience frequent ageism, optimists have far fewer unhealthy days, regardless of the amount of ageism they experience. This suggests one way to combat the negative impact of ageism is to be more optimistic.

A deeper analysis of the findings revealed:

Even in the highest-rated television programs, aging characters are underrepresented and stereotypically portrayed.

  • Only 9.4 percent of all speaking characters were 60 years of age or over – despite seniors representing 19.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2015 U.S. Census.
  • Stereotypical, ageist language is prevalent in the shows. Some choice quotes include: “Things just sound creepier when you’re old,” and “You like the color? It’s called ‘ancient ivory,’ like you.”
  • Of shows featuring a main senior character, 41 percent contained one or more ageist comments. Of those series with ageist comments, 62.5 percent had remarks that came from characters speaking to a senior, while 68.8 percent contained self-deprecating dialogue delivered by seniors to themselves.
  • Shows without a writer or showrunner age 60 or over were more likely to feature ageism than shows with a writer or showrunner age 60 or over.

There are inherent consequences to these stereotyped portrayals of aging Americans – including a potentially negative impact on seniors’ sense of self-esteem, confidence and optimism, as well as their health.

  • Seniors who experience ageism once a week or more report having 4.6 more physically unhealthy days and 5.4 more mentally unhealthy days per month than respondents who rarely or never report experiencing ageism.
  • Seniors who experience ageism once a week or more reported that it had a moderately negative impact on their sense of self-esteem, confidence and optimism, scoring the impact of ageism on their self-esteem at nearly 6 on a 10-point scale.

Aging Americans who describe themselves as optimists feel better about their overall health and well-being, underscoring the importance of an optimistic mindset for healthy aging.

  • Among seniors who report experiencing frequent ageism (once a week or more), optimists have, on average, 4 fewer physical and 3 fewer mental unhealthy days each month.
  • And, of all survey respondents, those who rate themselves as most optimistic feel on average 12.5 years younger than their actual age.

“We’ve studied this in film, but the lack of senior representation and prevalence of ageism on the small screen counters the idea that TV is better than film,” said Stacy L. Smith, director of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. “There’s obviously more work to be done in the entertainment industry—seniors are often left out of the conversation on inclusion. This study speaks to the need for increasing older storytellers behind the camera who can create more authentic senior characters on-screen.”

Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, vice president and chief medical officer of care delivery at Humana, added: “Understanding the social determinants of health is a key priority for Humana. That’s why we’re committed to advancing societal perceptions and promoting aging with optimism. Our survey and continued partnership with the University of Southern California demonstrate the power of an optimistic mindset for combating ageism and embracing healthy aging.”

Both Stacy L. Smith and Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez will provide more insight on each respective study as panelists at The Atlantic Live! New Old Age conference in New York City, slated for October 2017.

Read the full news release here.

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