health and wellness

“Baby boomers are claiming they don’t want to age the way their parents did. What do you think this means?”

That’s the question Humana Chief Medical Officer Dr. William Shrank asked three highly esteemed former U.S. Surgeons General during a recent Humana-sponsored panel at ICAA 2019: Shaping the Future of Wellness, this year’s International Council on Active Aging Conference, Leadership Summit and Expo. And while the Surgeons General interpretations of the “new future of aging” may vary slightly, everyone agrees it’s a topic that deserves more attention from the healthcare industry and those caring for aging adults.  

Dr. Richard Carmona, Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders and Dr. Antonia Novello took the stage with Dr. Shrank in Orlando on October 11, and passionately discussed how today health care system can improve to care for a growing senior population.

Consider that by 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population is projected to be 65 years or older. With the three former Surgeons General aged 69 or older, they each spoke from personal and professional experience. Each Surgeon General shared their observations on the need to better care for seniors in America, as well as their anecdotes on personal experiences with aging. All were steadfastly in favor of supporting cognitive brain health for seniors, as they see mental health as the bedrock for preventing and managing chronic disease and social determinants of health.

Some of the most memorable takeaways from the panel include:

  • The interdependence of social challenges
    • Dr. Shrank explained how some of the biggest challenges seniors face are social. We as a country are wildly over indexed in paying for health care, and extraordinarily under indexed in taking care of our people,” he explained when talking about social issues, like loneliness, and the impact they have on the current system.
  • Understanding the cultural and social needs for seniors
    • Dr. Carmona shared a touching story about an older woman he had met years ago while traveling. The woman was born in a small village and grew up to become the matriarch of the area, teaching and showing others how to live, grow crops and work with one another. This maintained a sense of belonging and community. She was 106-years-old, but had a sense of purpose, and a true role of importance to others. Culturally, the woman was revered, valued and admired in her community. Dr. Carmona explained how we need to give seniors today the same continued purpose surrounded by a network of social connections. These are key components to preventing loneliness.
  • Addressing brain health and the rise in dementia
    • Dr. Elders shared powerful words when it comes to dealing with brain health. “My brother used to pray every day that his body doesn’t outlive his mind,” she said. Unfortunately, figures show the longer someone lives, the more likely it is they develop dementia. Dr. Elders explained the importance of having a care infrastructure that addresses the individual’s clinical needs, in-home care and lifts the burden off other family members.   
  • Discerning the effect on caregivers
    • Dr. Novello spoke passionately on the importance of community and camaraderie, especially among physicians and other caregivers. “Doctors who are lonely and overworked, this is what we call ‘physician burnout’ today.” She stated being alone is not the same as being lonely and that we need to make sure today’s clinical leaders are also taking care of themselves.
    • Dr. Novello also went on to explain the importance of caregivers and how women are taking on childcare and parental care, on average, for 11.5 years of their life. “My question is, if we are taking care of everyone else, who is taking care of us?” Geography and gender are the biggest indicators of who is taking on the most caregiver responsibilities and Dr. Novello encouraged women to speak up and not continue as the silent minority.
  • The cost of loneliness
    • “Loneliness is now an epidemic,” Dr. Shrank said. “Fifty percent of women 75 and older live alone and we’re seeing more evidence that socially isolated individuals have worse health outcomes and higher health care costs. What can we do as a society for the inevitable health decline of Americans and the impact on the person who is sick, but also the family, the caregiver and the folks who wrap around and love that person?” This paints a powerful picture on the work that needs to be done and the opportunity the industry has to make aging in America a more graceful process for individuals and those who surround them every day.

Overall, the session reinforced Humana’s dedication to helping the industry move toward an integrated care delivery structure, including addressing social determinants of health, which may include sending physicians into members’ homes to witness firsthand the living environment that can impact the member’s health. 

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.– Doctor On Demand® and Humana Inc. today announced the launch of On Hand, an innovative and affordable health plan that centers on comprehensive virtual primary care. This new plan design represents a paradigm shift in healthcare where patients will have access to comprehensive, quality care from doctors without having to visit a doctor’s office, available at significantly lower monthly premiums.

“By partnering with Doctor On Demand, Humana is leading the market with a modern approach to meeting the health plan needs of employers and employees,” said Chris Hunter, Humana’s Group & Military segment president. “Through virtual care delivery, On Hand gives employers the opportunity to affordably offer healthcare benefits to employees without sacrificing comprehensive, quality care.”

Employers and members who elect On Hand as their primary care plan will gain access to a breadth of in-network virtual care services, as well as an expanded clinical care team to help navigate the healthcare system. Patients will have one dedicated primary care physician and access to preventive care, urgent care and behavioral health all through convenient video visits. Patients will also get access to their digital health records and have more control over how they are shared. If needed, patients will receive doctor or specialist referrals for in-person visits that stay within Humana’s network, all supported by the clinical care team to help seamlessly coordinate continued care.

Virtual care not only improves access, but also creates new opportunities to provide high-value health insurance for lower-premium costs. On Hand costs significantly less than the average standard plan today. There is also $0 copay for doctor visits using Doctor On Demand and a $5 copay for common labs and prescriptions.

On Hand features include:

  • A dedicated primary care provider that creates a stronger patient-provider relationship
  • Access to board-certified physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurse practitioners
  • Wellness visits to track overall patient health, as well as detect any health concerns
  • In-network referrals and care coordination resulting in lower costs
  • Standard medical device kit consisting of a digital blood pressure cuff, thermometer, and log
  • Video visits and secure messaging

“By offering full mind and body care through our expanded clinical care team and fully-integrated technology platform, we’re putting the patient first and introducing continuity of care not previously available through virtual care solutions,” said Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor On Demand. “We’re thrilled to partner with Humana to offer this new health plan, one that improves access to high-quality care while reducing overall healthcare costs to the consumer and the health plan alike.”

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The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville recently profiled the Daily Manna Serving Center, which distributes food to those in need. The pantry, founded eight years ago by Pastor Gerald Dinkins, serves about 2,500 people a month and is supported by Humana’s Bold Goal initiative.

Those who visit the pantry also receive free diabetes education and screening and take part in healthy cooking and exercise classes. Partners include St. Vincent’s HealthCare, Baptist Health and UF Health.

The success of the program is tracked with the Healthy Days metric developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The questionnaire asks people how many days in the past month they felt physically or mentally unhealthy and how their activity levels were affected,” the newspaper reported. “So far the results are positive.”

“It’s helping each other out, helping our neighbors,” said Bobbie Cox, a recipient and volunteer who shares his food with his neighbors. “Every little bit helps.”

Read the story here.

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Members of Humana’s management team, as well as some of the company’s operational leaders, are in New York City for the company’s biennial Investor Day.

The event, which takes place at the New York Stock Exchange, will showcase the company’s strategic direction, operational and financial progress, as well as expectations for future performance through presentations given by many of the company’s leaders. Many of Humana’s largest institutional shareholders, as well as Wall Street analysts who cover the company, will attend.

The company last hosted a similar event in April 2017.

CEO Bruce Broussard kicked off the day with opening remarks and an overview of the company’s strategy. The meeting will be available via a video webcast on Humana’s Investor Relations page. Just sign in after clicking the webcast link after scrolling down to the Humana Investor Day entry in the Events section.

If you can’t watch today, a video replay will appear on the Investor Relations page Wednesday, March 20.

To help celebrate Investor Day, members of Humana’s management team rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, March 18.

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Accolade and Humana have announced that the two companies will integrate their capabilities to create a differentiated healthcare and benefits experience for consumers. The companies will bring employers and their health plan members the benefit of Humana’s provider networks and innovative medical, dental, pharmacy, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Work-life Services, and Go365 wellness reward program capabilities together with Accolade’s robust member engagement services and integrated health and benefits partner programs.

With a mission to dramatically improve consumer engagement, experience,outcomes and costs in healthcare, Humana with Accolade leverages an open and intelligent platform and a personalized advocacy solution to create a whole person, whole population health offering for its self-funded employer clients, their employees and families.

Using an innovative and open approach to healthcare, Humana will integrate a rich array of data on Accolade’s platform. The Accolade platform leverages advanced machine learning intelligence that produces highly personalized and targeted services across an entire member population, with the goal of reducing complexity and waste. With dedicated Health Assistants and Clinicians, mobile and online messaging,a fully integrated benefits center, member activation campaigns and intelligent insights, Accolade has shown up to a 30-percent lift in program utilization, along with achieving measurable member satisfaction and cost savings.

Read the full news release here.

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