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April 26, 2019

Humana will pilot a cheaper insurance plan with virtual primary care

Daily Briefing

    Humana on Wednesday announced it is piloting a first-of-its-kind health plan that offers members primary care primarily through telehealth services.

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    According to Modern Healthcare, the announcement comes as Humana has increased its investments in home health care in an effort to help patients avoid costlier services. For example, Humana has acquired stakes in Kindred Healthcare, a home health care company, and Curo Health Services, a hospice operator.

    About the new health plan

    A Humana spokesperson said the insurer in June will begin piloting the new health plans, called On Hand, in Florida and Texas as a self-funded product for small businesses. Under the health plans, enrollees will access primary care from providers using telehealth services offered by the company Doctor on Demand, which partnered with Humana to create the new health plan.

    Under the health plans, enrollees will be assigned to a specific telehealth primary care physician through Doctor on Demand's Synapse platform for primary care, which launched in February. Enrollees will receive a digital blood pressure cuff, log, and thermometer to collect their vital signs at home.

    The plans also will allow enrollees to access to behavioral health, preventive, and urgent care providers through Doctor on Demand. Enrollees will have the option to schedule in-person visits with a physician and will continue to receive referrals as needed for in-person appointments with specialists in Humana's network of physicians.

    A Humana spokesperson said average monthly premiums for the On Hand health plans will be nearly half those of Humana's current most-purchased health plan. MedCity News reports that the On Hand health plans' monthly premiums will range between $150 and $200. Enrollees will have a $5 copayment for common lab tests and prescriptions, but will have no copays for other virtual care received through Doctor on Demand.

    Chris Hunter, president of Humana's Group and Military Segment, in a statement said, "Through virtual care delivery, On Hand gives employers the opportunity to affordably offer health care benefits to employees without sacrificing comprehensive, quality care" (Livingston, Modern Healthcare, 4/24; Truong, MedCity News, 4/25; Bryant, Healthcare Dive, 4/25).

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