Humana is improving its customers’ health and wellness through innovative partnerships with other companies

In the world of insurance, Kentucky-based Humana has been making interesting moves for some time. Rather than just compete on premiums and benefits for its 11m members of its medical plans and 7m members of speciality products, the company has chosen partnered innovation as a means to change consumer behaviours for the better. By connecting the strengths of its core business with those of other companies in and around the healthcare area, Humana believes that it can not only enhance the health of its millions of customers, but also create new business opportunities. Its primary focus remains providing Medicare and other insurance products to cover dental, vision and other supplemental health protection to both individuals and employer groups, but the company has become increasingly involved in managing healthcare delivery in partnership with major public health bodies in the US and Europe. In 2011, it launched HumanaVitality, a joint venture with Discovery Holdings, providing its members with access to a science-based, actuarially driven wellness and loyalty program that features a range of well-being tools and rewards that are customized to an individual’s needs.

Of its recent innovative consumer initiatives, the one that has caught most attention has been B-cycle that has brought bike sharing to an increasing number of US cities. Run in partnership with Trek, it has used the model proven in places like Paris and London and helped to address some US communities’ environmental and transportation problems while improving their health. Other programs have included the best selling fitness franchise on Xbox Kinect which brings together gaming and health in partnership with Ubisoft, as well as new media ventures designed to simplify the complex world of health insurance and share information across different providers to make claims processing more efficient for patients. Humana is seeking to tackle the healthcare challenge both directly and indirectly by innovating across several fronts at once.

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