Humana Bolsters Care Management Capabilities with Acquisition of SeniorBridge

December 8, 2011
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Humana announced an agreement this past week to acquire SeniorBridge, a New York-based provider of in-home care services to the chronic care and senior populations. The acquisition marks the latest example of Humana’s attempt to position itself as a more retail-focused company through a series of acquisitions and strategic initiatives.

Humana announced an agreement this past week to acquire SeniorBridge, a New York-based provider of in-home care services to the chronic care and senior populations. The acquisition marks the latest example of Humana’s attempt to position itself as a more retail-focused company through a series of acquisitions and strategic initiatives.

Over the past eleven years, SeniorBridge has established itself as a leader in managing complex chronic conditions for seniors in the self-pay (or private-pay) market. Through the acquisition, Humana will be presented with a host of opportunities to leverage SeniorBridge’s model across a broader market base:

  • Medicare – upon receipt of Medicare certification, Humana will be able to leverage SeniorBridge’s suite of care management capabilities across its nearly 2 million Medicare plan members.
  • Humana Cares – SeniorBridge bolsters the Humana Cares segment of the company, which provides on-the-ground care management services to over 185,000 chronically ill plan members. The Humana Cares segment of the company has been vital to Humana’s emergence as a leader in the Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (MA-SNP) market.
  • Other Payer Groups – several reform related initiatives, such as reimbursement reform and medical loss ratios, have positioned in-home care to be a large growth area for SeniorBridge given its significance to payers as a cost-saving tool (managed care has traditionally only contributed to a small portion of SeniorBridge’s overall business).
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Humana has been among the most progressive payers in promoting member self-management and wellness through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Humana Guidance Centers – “store-front” hubs located in select cities provide members with access to a suite of wellness and self-management products.
  • Remote Medical Monitoring – provides real-time condition monitoring solutions to help address member health challenges in real-time.
  • Humana Center for Health & Well-being – Humana’s LifeSynch subsidiary provides face-to-face health coaching resources to plan members. In addition, the Company has established a partnership with MinuteClinic to provide quick-access to routine treatments.

In addition, Humana’s recent acquisition of Concentra, along with several urgent care clinics from NextCare, signaled their entrance into the provider marketplace. These strategic moves have provided Humana with a mechanism to execute on their strategy to become more consumer-facing and the flexibility to adapt to some of the new realities established through health reform as they are implemented over the next few years.

Other recent investment activity in the payer marketplace signals that Humana might not be alone in their efforts to diversify and establish an “on-the-ground” presence (for example, UnitedHealth’s purchase of Inspiris, BlueCross Blue Shield of Florida’s investment in CareCentrix).  Payers appear to have realized the disconnect that has existed historically between themselves and their customer base. Given the “bets” that payers have made across the landscape, it is clear that payers are seeking to re-orient themselves around the consumer and provide consumers with an opportunity to take a greater role in controlling their healthcare. While a variety of strategies are being used, payers have been prioritizing investments and services around the “consumer experience” to increase overall access and transparency.

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Joe Long

Joe Long is an analyst at TripleTree covering the healthcare sector, with a focus on the approaches and technologies surrounding health insurance exchanges.  You can email him at jlong@triple-tree.com.