Humana gets boost from Oprah's investment in Weight Watchers

Humana and Weight Watchers' effort to improve employee wellness and fight America's expensive obesity epidemic has benefitted from Oprah Winfrey's star power, according to a Forbes.com contributed post.

Though Humana said it is not able to disclose specific figures until January, spokesman Jeff Blunt said that the company "did see an enrollment spike in our Weight Watchers program in October" and that enrollment in the Humana/Weight Watchers program had been increasing 9 percent each month for the four months prior. In October, he said, enrollment jumped to 19 percent compared to September. Winfrey announced she would buy a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers in October.

Blunt did add, however, that there is no way to determine whether or not the spike in enrollment numbers was caused solely by Oprah's endorsement. 

The Humana-Weight Watchers deal, which was announced in February, provides Weight Watchers services to qualified Humana plan members for six months with no out-of-pocket costs to them, with a discounted rate after the six months. Humana then pays Weight Watchers a monthly rate for each participant. The pairing is one of the first major insurer-weight management partnerships.

Humana has been involved in a variety of partnerships in order to improve health. For example, a value-based partnership between a Pennsylvania accountable care organization and Humana has been able to improve health measures among Medicare Advantage members, the organizations announced this week. Such partnerships help the insurer transition to a value-based model by "designing around the consumer," Humana Chief Innovation Officer Chris Kay wrote in recent post for Hospital Impact.

To learn more:
- read the Forbes post

Suggested Articles

Rebates for Part D drugs grew from 2011 to 2015 but not enough to offset price spikes, a study found.

Medicare Advantage plans still have time to meet their year-end goals.

A recent digital health conference highlighted the ongoing obstacles to using next-generation technology to impact health outcomes.