Medicare Advantage members fared well during pandemic, Humana Bold Goal finds

Medicare Advantage members fared well during pandemic, Humana Bold Goal finds

For those of us in healthcare, we are humbled by the opportunity to partner with patients to help them solve complex and highly personal challenges. Watching the pandemic unfold, we experienced greater urgency to accelerate our efforts to connect people to resources that would alleviate their daily well-being concerns.

At Humana, where our goal is to make it easier for people and communities to achieve their best health, it was a call to action; we rallied to create solutions with our community and business partners. Our newly released Bold Goal Progress Report details the results from those efforts and shows Humana Medicare Advantage Members maintained their overall health over the course of 2020 and throughout the 2020 pandemic.

Specifically, we saw results in a number of areas that speak directly to partnerships, interventions and collective progress made throughout our Bold Goal communities:

• Humana helped its Medicare Advantage members to maintain overall health-related quality of life in 2020, while actually improving physically Healthy Days by 1.3% from 2019.

• Some of the most vulnerable populations—those with depression, receiving low-income subsidies, disabled, or dual-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid—experienced more Healthy Days in 2020 compared to 2019

• We’ve seen positive trends in many of our communities, including an increase in overall Healthy Days of 1.8% in Louisville, Ky., and 3.4% in New Orleans from 2019 to 2020. Overall we saw a 2.8% increase in Healthy Days in Bold Goal communities as compared to non-Bold Goal communities since our baseline year of 2015.

Humana’s Bold Goal, established in 2015, began with a population health strategy objective of improving health for people, expressed by members’ self-reported health as defined by the CDC-validated Healthy Days survey. Research, insights and partnerships illuminated the fact that social determinants of health and health-related social needs have a profound impact on a person’s health and health outcomes.

Fortunately, through five years of Bold Goal community engagement, we had established relationships with many community-based organizations. Our initial SDOH focus was on food insecurity and loneliness, so we had a basic response framework, interventions in the field, and key partnerships established when the pandemic hit. This enabled us to quickly respond to emergent needs as the situation escalated.

We know that our clinical and social interventions had an impact. Not only did we specifically outreach to at-risk populations, we had screening tools in place to root out needs. During the pandemic, we deployed those efforts more broadly throughout Humana’s clinical and customer service arms, as well as with our community partners. What started out as an experiment became the way we do business.

Our 2020 goal was to complete 3 million health-related social need screening events, and by year’s end we had more than doubled our goal with 6.2 million completed screenings. Those screening positive were connected to resources that directly addressed their basic needs.

Humana’s Medicare Advantage membership comprises seniors, who already are among the most vulnerable to food insecurity and are some of the most susceptible to experiencing loneliness as a result of social distancing. During the pandemic, they faced particularly restricted access to transportation and groceries.

Humana’s Basic Needs Program, which launched in 2020 to meet urgent and emergent health-related social needs due to the pandemic, empowered member-facing associates to screen and support food insecure members. By the end of the year, the Basic Needs Program had served 77,863 members and provided more than 1.1 million meals to members. It continues into 2021 and, to date, has served 90,000 people with 1.5 million meals.

Like our peers in the healthcare industry, we’ve learned a lot during the last year. These results represent just the beginning of what’s possible as we, through continued collaboration with partners, address root causes of health disparities. We will continue to dig deeper into our disciplines—clinical, behavioral and social—to support members in achieving their best health.

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About the Author

Marie Maynes
Marie Maynes is a Sports enthusiast and writes for the Sports section of ANH.