Humana to offer wellness incentives program

Humana is teaming with the South African company Discovery Holdings to offer a wellness program aimed at reducing its medical claims and lowering out-of-pocket health costs for its medical members, ABC News reports.

"We believe wellness is going to be the next big thing," Paul Kusserow, Humana's chief strategy and corporate development officer, told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The insurer will set up an entity called HumanaVitality to offer its members wellness programs fashioned by Discovery, which operates the world's largest incentive-based health enhancement program, the Courier-Journal reports.

Initially, Humana will offer the incentives program to members of its individual and employer-sponsored health plans in selected markets. Participants will be rewarded through a point system that can result in prizes like movie tickets, airline miles and music downloads. Humana members can accrue points for larger rewards like electronics and fitness equipment. For example, members will receive points for exercising, not smoking, regular health screenings and flu shots.

"The goal is to foster positive behavior change," Humana spokesman Tom Noland told ABC News. "At least 50 percent of healthcare costs come from health behaviors that can be improved. This program has been shown to work very effectively in fostering such change."

As part of the plan, Discovery will have a 25 percent stake in HumanaVitality. Humana will also buy 25 percent of The Vitality Group, Discovery's U.S. subsidiary. The value of the transaction wasn't disclosed, Bloomberg reports.

To learn more:
- read the Louisville Courier-Journal article
- see the ABC News story
- check out the Bloomberg piece

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