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Humana finds a new name, runs familiar playbook

Taking a page from United and Cigna, Humana is the latest insurance conglomerate to join the vertical integration trend.

The health insurance behemoth Humana is about to embark on a rebranding initiative that will unite its primary care, pharmacy, and in-home care services under the name CenterWell. Its first two rebranded entities are 65 senior-focused primary care centers that already see about 60,000 Medicare Advantage patients each year. CenterWell is aiming to grow its Medicare Advantage business by another 12% this year, which adds up to more than 5 million enrollees.

Humana’s move follows a trend of health services brand-rejiggering started by industry giants UnitedHealthcare and Cigna, who grouped their health services businesses under the Optum and Evernorth brands, respectively. To be blunt, Optum and Evernorth have proven to be cash cows, and it seems like Humana has taken notice and is emulating this growth strategy.

What’s wrong with that, you say? Glad you asked! In our eyes, Optum and Evernorth help their parent companies wield more market power and also keep more of their revenue within their own entities, as opposed to dispersing it throughout the market. We’re hoping that this won’t be the case with CenterWell. We’re also hoping that this move that consolidates Humana’s services into one brand won’t tilt the balance of power in the insurer’s favor when it comes to hospital reimbursement negotiations. When a corporate conglomerate holds so many of the cards—and then grabs up a bunch more—it can be hard for those providing care to put together a winning hand.

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