Humana to make $100M investment in home health startup Heal

Humana is aiming to broaden its home care options by joining forces with home health startup Heal. 

The insurer will make a $100 million investment in Heal and will expand the platform’s reach into new geographic regions such as Chicago, Houston and Charlotte, North Carolina, to align with its Bold Goal population health initiative. 

Heal’s approach is built on a 21st century reimagining of the house call. The company has made 200,000 home visits over the past five years. It also offers telemedicine, telepsychiatry and remote monitoring services, and it currently operates in New York, New Jersey, Washington, California, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

A home visit, according to Heal, allows physicians to both meet patients where they are and to observe potential risks or health concerns such as allergens, food insecurity and fall risk. Heal’s services will be available to Medicare Advantage, group commercial and individual market coverage. 

RELATED: Humana to offer home COVID-19 testing, drive-thru testing at Walmart 

Humana said many members sought out home health options due to COVID-19, so it worked with Heal to offer home primary care to members, especially as most are in Medicare Advantage plans and are at high risk for complications related to the virus. 

“We have spent a lot of time talking to our members about the situation that they’re in,” Susan Diamond, segment president for Humana’s home business, told Fierce Healthcare.  

Diamond said Humana views home-centered primary care as a “foundational” part of its broader vision, as it can act as a springboard for other interventions. If a physician identifies potential risks earlier, they can intervene sooner and prevent potentially adverse effects. 

RELATED: Humana, University of Houston started a pop-health focused med school 2 years ago. Then COVID-19 hit 

Nick Desai, CEO of Heal, told Fierce Healthcare that in addition to the cash infusion, the startup benefits from having access to a stable of experts at Humana that can assist with clinical concerns, compliance and more. Diamond, for example, will join Heal’s board of directors as part of the insurer’s investment. 

He described it as having easy access to a “master class” in a slew of topics. 

“I think that’s a very valuable part of the partnership," Desai said. “To take this service nationally, we need to go fast—and to go fast we need expertise.”