Humana CEO Bruce Broussard Says Insurers Have What It Takes to Get Everyone Vaccinated Against COVID-19: Lots of Info on Members

In a short address, Broussard also discussed Humana's success in the Medicare Advantage program and expanding access to healthcare.

Health insurers can help COVID-19 vaccine coverage because of their “great infrastructure” Bruce Broussard, president and CEO of Humana, said today during a brief address at AHIP’s online healthcare policy conference.

“That (health insurance) card that individuals carry around is really a powerful information source because you know what care they are getting, you know where they are getting it, you know where they live, you know their demographics, you know their conditions. And we can really help ensure that everyone gets the vaccine,” Broussard said in a keynote session on the first day of the trade association’s three-day meeting.

Broussard didn’t go into further detail in his brief, 10-minute address but referenced removing financial barriers and insurers covering COVID-19 testing and treatment and “really ensuring that people had the proper access.”

Responding to questions from Matt Eyles, president and CEO of AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans), Broussard, who has been CEO of the Humana for just over eight years, also touched on the company’s success in the Medicare Advantage market, the benefits of private sector insurance, and expanding access to healthcare.

“I think you will continue to see a more omnichannel approach,” Broussard said about expanded access. “We saw that in COVID as a result of telehealth.” He also mentioned the expansion of home care so it includes “actually doing primary care in the home” not just nursing care, hospital-at-home programs and care coaches.

Broussard spoke about the promise of scientific advances as reflected in the rapid development of the vaccine and noted that Humana is using natural language processing to identify the “sentiment” of customers and tailoring help “not only from a capabilities point of view but also a personality point of view.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Humana covered about 18% of the 24.1 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plan last year, so its market share was second only to UnitedHealthcare’s, which according to the foundation’s figures covered 26% of enrollees. In his remarks today, Broussard said Medicare Advantage gives the Louisville, Kentucky-based insurer the ability to view healthcare holistically: “We saw that in COVID when we were outreaching. It wasn’t about what (specific) treatment they needed. We were really concerned about their complete care needs. That was important mindset.”

Broussard also said Medicare Advantage gives the company the ability to measure “preventable health events.” Doing so means slowing disease progression and improving people’s health but it also “really drives cost reduction,” said Broussard. He also cited the benefits of competition among private insurers in program because it forces them “to think about how do you win the consumer over through experience, how to win them over through ensuring that they have a personalized service, that you are able to outreach for the proper needs that they have.”

Broussard painted a bright picture overall for healthcare: “I am optimistic about the future of healthcare. I think there is a lot of innovation happening both at the small companies and large companies within the private sector, and I see this public-private partnership continuing to be the case.”