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Humana pats itself on the back in new report

Before the insurer pushes patient care into home health, we'd like to check its sources.

“Home health” has been a buzzword for years, even more so during the pandemic. It’s also been an investment focus for many health insurers – most notably, Humana.

But two recent stories from the burgeoning home health giant have us wondering, who actually benefits when insurers control where care is provided?

Here’s the situation:

Apparently, one-fifth of Medicare Advantage expenses could be better addressed via home care. According to whom? Well, Humana, of course, per a recent study that tracked 2020 physician progress and patient outcomes and was covered in Home Health Care News.

Perhaps not so incidentally, Humana also spent the last year building out its home health portfolio in a major way, acquiring both Kindred at Home and Onehome.

So the next story, also from Home Health Care News, doesn’t surprise us. Humana CEO Bruce Broussard says the insurer wants 50% of its Medicare Advantage population under its value-based home health model by 2027.

To summarize: Humana “discovered” that more patient care can be better provided through organizations it owns. What a coincidence.

And look, there are some real and clear benefits to home health. Many patients greatly prefer and feel more comfortable receiving care in their own home. The company says that emergency room visits are down, and patient outcomes are up. This is all well and good.

We’re not total cynics and we’re not anti-home care either. We’re not even anti-Humana, which generally plays quite a bit nicer than its peers. But Humana is showing its cards clearly, going all in on home health, and we’re a bit concerned by what we see.

Yes, home care may benefit the patient. But at the end of the day, our question is this: Who benefits most when the insurers are the ones deciding where patient care is provided?

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