Humana to integrate Weight Watchers programs into employer-sponsored plans

Humana aims to help lower obesity rates by partnering with Weight Watchers, giving its members with employer-sponsored plans access to Weight Watchers weight loss programs that are integrated within Humana's own wellness program.

The insurer called the partnership a "first-of-its-kind program" that connects its members to either Weight Watchers' online or in-person weight loss programs for free for six months and then at a "significant discount" afterward, Humana said in a statement.

"We want to help employers find effective ways to battle obesity, improve the overall wellness of their employees and create healthy communities," Beth Bierbower, president of Humana's Employer Group Segment, said in the statement. "With that in mind, partnering with Weight Watchers just made sense--it allows us to connect our members with a leading weight loss program so that they can better navigate their wellness journeys."

Humana is paying Weight Watchers an undisclosed amount per participant per month, reported Forbes.

"The key to this program is the active connection we're making among our members, the Weight Watchers offering, and Humana's existing health and wellness initiatives," Humana CEO Bruce Broussard told Forbes. "The discount is important, because it provides an incentive to get started and removes financial barriers that many people face."

The partnership is part of an industry trend to focus more attention on obese members to achieve better outcomes and decrease financial risk, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. It also falls in line with Humana's own investment in "lifestyle medicine," which aims to reduce chronic conditions by emphasizing healthful eating, exercise and community support.

To learn more:
- here's the Humana statement
- read the Forbes article