The Power of Choice: Health Exchanges Year II



Bruce_Broussard_MEDIres.jpg WIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His topics range from the powerful potential of technology to the issue of loneliness. His latest The Power of Choice: Health Exchanges Year II, is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Last year, nearly seven million Americans signed up for health care coverage from public and private companies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This has been a key first step in getting these people on the path to better health. They need it, and it’s a privilege for us and others to make this a reality for these Americans and their families.

More than one million people chose individual health plans from Humana, 600,000 of whom have signed up via and state health insurance exchanges in 14 states, and 100,000 of whom have signed up in ACA-compliant off-exchange offerings.

As their health partner, I’m asked quite a bit about the health of these consumers. For many people who signed up through the exchanges, being out of the health care system was a sign of unhealthiness.

I’ve met firsthand some of the people who have signed up for health coverage through the exchanges. Take Mississippi. Last year, Humana provided coverage through the exchange in 40 counties – including 36 counties where no other insurer was willing to participate in the first year of the exchange. Today, we’re helping many of these new members get on the path to better health through the right care while also helping them make more informed lifestyle decisions about their health. We’ve just started but the reactions on the ground from our new members are very encouraging.

It’s inspirational and moving to see how grateful many Mississippians are who now have health coverage for the first time. While health coverage may be something we take for granted, for these people it was a life-changing experience.

And it started with choice.

Exchanges Give Choices
During the last year, the power of choice has enabled nearly seven million Americans to select a health partner through the health exchanges. These exchanges have brought the power of choice to the world of health care.

Thanks to competition created by the exchanges, consumers are no longer tethered to the confinements of the past; companies must now compete for the right to help get them on the path to better health.

Choice, the foundation of competition, must, ultimately, go beyond choosing a health plan; it must be about finding a health partner that understands your needs. When you have competition, you’ll create an environment that fosters real innovation.

Competition Supports Engagement
A competitive environment pushes competitors to seek an edge, a way to truly differentiate their respective individual health value propositions to consumers. The value proposition must address how it can help consumers improve their health so they can lead the lives they choose.

Innovation must become more than the buzz word we all turn to when talking about how we’re going to transform health care. Engaging individuals in their health must leverage the way consumers actually use technology, as evidenced by the emergence of the quantified self.

For example, Apple, Google and other companies are taking innovative approaches to the wearable device market, which is going to empower people to manage their individual health like never before. Technology disrupted retail, financial services, travel agencies and other industries and it’s time to leverage it in health care.

However, in order to do so, you must have a trusting relationship with the individual to build the foundation to better health.

Trust and Customization
Ultimately, engaging people about their health requires a bond of trust. If you want them to trust how you plan to improve their health so they can do the things they love to do, you have to start by listening and helping them reach their quantitative and qualitative health goals. Consumers ultimately want to know that their health partner understands them as a person.

Given how personalized each consumer’s needs are, this requires customized health solutions that are tailored to these specific needs. Consumers have come to expect this from other industries. Understanding the individualized needs of the consumers requires this personalized approach that also takes a holistic approach to their health and well-being.

Ensuring the highest quality of care must always be our primary focus in improving the health of the populations that sign up through exchanges. By focusing on helping people improve their health, we’ll drive affordable health care. First and foremost, we must continue to deliver the most personalized, high quality, empathetic care the best we can.

Making it easier for people to improve their health and navigate the complex health care system will also help lead to a measureable impact on the exchange and other populations.

Change Lifestyles
To improve health, however, it is not just about the health care system, but about understanding and changing the lifestyles of an unhealthy population.
It goes beyond conventional health coverage. Do people have exercise options? Are there accessible farmers markets? Do they have sidewalks where they can walk? Do they have a friend or health coach that can help them?

Solving these health challenges requires a consumer-centric approach to people who chose these exchanges to start their health journeys. To improve population health, addressing lifestyles of the consumers who have put their trust in us as their health partner is a critical element in improving the health of exchange populations.

There’s Work to be Done
We’re still early in the journey. Mistakes will be made, but we’ll learn from them and come back stronger. Good things take time, teamwork, patience and diligence. That’s a valuable lesson that we need to remind ourselves of when it comes to embarking on unprecedented historic journeys.

Americans who first signed up for coverage via the exchange ( and other channels have already put their trust in us to get them on the path to better health.

Now it’s time to build on what we’ve begun, together, for them and others, and help more people get on a path to making health goals a reality.

Covering Mississippi Tour: Bringing hope for a healthier future

Miss Mall

Mississippi gets a failing grade on its overall health, according to a recent report card issued by the Mississippi State Medical Association and the state’s Department of Health.

The Magnolia State remains lodged near the bottom nationally in several health categories. The statistics show that the issues begin at birth and continue into adulthood: most very low birth weight babies, 2nd most teen births, worst in heart disease, 2nd worst in diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer deaths.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the state of health in Mississippi, by and large, is poor and in need of improvement,” said Dr. Randy Easterling during a recent interview at the Mississippi State Medical Association offices in Jackson. (Watch video below.)

Easterling said a key to making progress is encouraging people to get routine health care and help with chronic issues, which they cannot do without broadening access to affordable health care.

Even though the opening last year of the Health Insurance Marketplace brought new options to many of the uninsured across the nation, Mississippi, one of the states in greatest need, faced a potential crisis when it appeared no health plans would be offered in 36 of its counties, which include many high-poverty areas. That’s when Humana agreed to provide coverage to those 36 counties in addition to the four counties in which it already had a market presence.

Humana, one of the founding supporters and sponsors of the public/private coalition Cover Mississippi, didn’t simply sit back and wait for Mississippians to find the help they needed. In November 2013, it launched the Covering Mississippi Tour, a mobile exchange education and outreach campaign that uses two specially designed trucks to travel around the state, meeting people where they live and work and making it as easy as possible to get information about their health plan options under the Affordable Care Act. The trucks have traveled to churches, schools, retail outlets and community centers in more than 100 towns and cities to ensure that as many people as possible get the information and individual assistance they need.

Stacey Carter, Humana-Mississippi Market Leader, said Humana will work with local health-care leaders to address the challenges facing Mississippi.

“We can help change culture and that’s an amazing thing. We can help people live healthier lives,” she said. “It’s very emotional because many people have never been able to have health insurance before and now, they’re able to protect their children and their spouse and so, it gives people a sense of security that they may have never had before now.”

Kim Evans, who operates an airport taxi service in Jackson, knows what it is like to lose that sense of security. She had been without insurance for a year and could not find a health plan she could afford until she checked into Humana’s options.

“Everybody needs it (insurance coverage) so much,” said Evans. “I couldn’t believe it when I learned my premium would be 46 cents a month. It means everything to me.”

Evans said another great thing about her new plan is that she can go back to the same doctor she had been seeing for years – a doctor who knows her, her medical history and is someone she trusts.

“I have an appointment tomorrow with my doctor,” she said. “It’s wonderful!”

Another Jackson resident, DeAngelo Brown, 22, said he had not had health insurance since he entered college, which caused anxiety because he was well aware of how important affordable care is for everyone, young and old. He had spent a lot of time looking for an affordable plan and had participated in discussions about health plans and health costs in his classes at Jackson (Mississippi) State, where he is a health-care administration major. He had seen a Humana information booth at the Jackson Medical Mall and decided to check into his options. He’s glad he did.

“A lot of young people don’t go to the doctor and don’t understand the value of it,” said Brown. “But the cost of health care is steadily rising, and you need regular routine care to prevent big problems in the future. It was stressful knowing I couldn’t afford a doctor or dentist.”

“It was great and exciting news today,” said Brown, as he signed up for a medical plan that will cost him 22 cents a month and a dental plan that will cost $18 per month. “I’m going to encourage everyone I know to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Watch the video below to learn more about the Covering Mississippi Tour:

The health exchange open enrollment period ends March 31. If you have not yet enrolled or have questions, go to or

Health reform questions? Go to or call us 24/7

Healthcare in America is changing, and many people have questions that need immediate answers. Humana wants to help – whether you are a member or not.

Americans have until Monday, Dec. 23, to use the state and federal exchanges to enroll in health plans for coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. There is not a lot of time to make some important choices and decisions. That’s why Humana has launched a campaign to help consumers understand changes in health care coverage prompted by the Affordable Care Act, including the health exchanges.

Where to go for answers:

  • Consumers can find information and tools that will help them navigate through the ACA’s new exchanges. The website includes “Easy Price,” an online estimating tool that calculates relevant rates in specific areas – whether from Humana or another health care company. It makes it easier to calculate prices, compare plans and make the best choice for your specific situation. Individuals can also explore available government subsidies and check to see if they qualify.
  •  24/7 call center: Humana call center hours will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until Dec. 23 to help answer consumers’ questions relating to health reform and exchanges. Call 1-800-222-1679.
  • Seminars: Humana health care experts will be in hundreds of CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. Additionally, educational seminars are being held at select YMCA locations around the country. Visit to find an event in your area.
  • Letter to America/video: A full-page “Letter to America” from Humana CEO and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Broussard was also published in major newspapers this week. The letter can be downloaded here or watch a related YouTube video to learn more about the Humana Helps campaign and how to contact Humana with questions.

The Humana call centers will revert back to normal hours of operations on Dec. 24, but all other Humana Helps initiatives will continue into 2014.

Goal of Covering Mississippi tour is to educate, enroll people on health exchange


Residents of Natchez, Mississippi, talk to Humana representatives about health coverage options during the first stop of the Covering Mississippi tour.

Residents of Natchez, Mississippi, talk to Humana representatives about health coverage options during the first stop of the Covering Mississippi tour.

Humana is crisscrossing the state of Mississippi in an effort to give residents of the Magnolia State more information about their health plan options under the Affordable Care Act.

As part of Humana’s “Covering Mississippi” initiative, a statewide mobile outreach and education campaign, Humana teams travel in two custom-made vehicles to visit health centers, retail outlets, churches, schools and civic auditoriums to provide free one-on-one meetings with residents through March 2014. Anyone can speak to Humana representatives at these events to learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace and the health-care plans available to them. Currently, one in five Mississippians is uninsured.

“We launched our vehicle at a town hall meeting in Natchez, and the feedback we got was incredible,” said Stacey Carter, a Humana Marketing Director based in Jackson, Mississippi.  “People are so thankful for what Humana is trying to accomplish; they say they’ve never seen anything like it.”

Earlier this year, Mississippi faced a potential health insurance crisis when other carriers pulled out of or declined to offer services in 36 of the state’s counties, which include many high-poverty areas. Humana agreed to provide coverage to residents in those counties in addition to the four counties in which Humana already had a market presence. In all, more than 100,000 uninsured Mississippians live in Humana’s 40-county service area.

“The ultimate goal is to deliver on Humana’s promise to provide much-needed access to affordable health care,” said Humana Project Director Michael Russman. “We want to create Mississippi-centric initiatives, systems and solutions that help enable people to achieve lifelong well-being. This is just the beginning.”

Related links:

  • For more information on Humana’s Covering Mississippi tour, visit
  • For more information about health-care coverage options available through Humana under the Affordable Care Act, visit
  • Click here to access National Public Radio’s recent report about Humana’s Covering Mississippi bus tour.

Humana CEO joins industry leaders at White House to discuss rollout of ACA

white house

Chief executives from about a dozen major health insurers, including Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, were invited to the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 23, for a meeting with President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, advisor Valerie Jarrett and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The discussion focused on resolving the ongoing technical problems encountered with the Oct. 1 launch of the federal exchange website,, and its effects on health-plan enrollment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Broussard also participated in a panel about changes in the health-care industry at the 2013 Forbes Healthcare Summit, which was held Oct. 9-10 in New York City. Forbes contributor Avik Roy sat down with Broussard after his panel appearance to continue that conversation and to discuss the exchanges.   To watch the Forbes video interview, click here or on the video image below.

If you want to learn more about the Oct. 23 meeting at the White House, please click on one of the links below:

The video interview above, courtesy of Forbes, was conducted by Avik Roy earlier this month during the Forbes Healthcare Summit.

Humana launches “Health Care for You” site to help explain health-care coverage options

Humana has launched “Health Care for You,” an online resource designed to educate people about the basics of health insurance and public exchange options that take effect in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

“Health Care For You,” which can be accessed at, uses a character-driven experience focused on baby boomers, families with children and young independents. By filtering through a few key demographic questions as they enter the site, users get the information that is most relevant to them.

Humana is also sponsoring a destination at WebMD called “Protecting and Insuring Your Health” that can be accessed at This resource is part of a suite of new offerings from WebMD to help individuals make the right plan choice for themselves and their families.

“There is a strong need for basic education to help raise Americans’ knowledge about health-care coverage and explain how the health-care reform law affects them,” said Roy A. Beveridge, M.D., Humana’s Chief Medical Officer. “Before people can even begin to explore and compare specific offerings, they need to start by understanding what coverage is and why it’s important to obtain. Humana’s Health Care for You site, and our engagement with WebMD, reflect our approach to provide clear, basic education so people can make well-informed decisions about their coverage options.”

“Healthcare For You” offers a variety of articles, videos, slide shows and infographics to help consumers understand what the changes in health care mean to them.

Related links: