Humana as a Hospice Provider

Humana has been on an aggressive streak lately to acquire some of the largest hospice providers in the nation on top of acquiring a home health chain. But why?  It’s all related to Humana’s bottom line.

As an insurance provider, Humana doesn’t make as much money or any money at all when it must pay for a patient’s inpatient or outpatient care.  But what happens when that patient receives hospice?  Humana doesn’t have to pay a thing…Medicare, if the patient qualifies, fully takes over as the payer source. Humana gets to make money on the deal.

It boils down to this: Humana is going to profit on the death of its members.  Let that sink in for a moment.  The general idea that insurance is supposed to be there to provide coverage for necessary healthcare services and to offer assurance that a patient will be taken care of when needed has been totally flipped on its head.

Rather than focusing on prevention, treatment, and quality of life, Humana essentially wants people to just die. While it is going to happen to everyone at some point, Humana is almost acting as the executioner.

Partnering with Humana is two private equity firms.  Together this partnership will have Humana oversee the clinical and care provided (God help us) and the private equity firms sit back and collect their earnings.

Humana is looking at purchasing Kindred and Curo.  Both of these providers have had their own issues with compliance in the past few years.  The providers have paid millions to settle claims of improper billing charges.  However, if you notice there is a pattern – large companies get away with it and smaller companies end up being forced to close.  Humana knows that by combining to become one of the leading providers of hospice, their force will be unstoppable.

Local hospice providers will need to remind patients and referral sources of Humana’s desire to be the judge, jury, and executioner during open enrollment and encourage them to find an insurance plan that isn’t looking at them as a new profit center.  Humana is focused on ensuring that it is able to always manage its bottom line and by owning hospice providers, it can prepare for the possible future requirement that Medicare Advantage plans include hospice coverage.  The goal for Humana is to ration care and enable the company to line its own pockets on the death of its members.

Owning the home and being the only resource is one way Humana will make such an advancement. This isn’t a new model of care. Humana isn’t extending the continuum of care or making it better: it is after one thing – money.  As many Wall Street analysts have indicated, the ability to look deeper into this strategy is not just that of a compassionate health insurance plan. This is a move that will cement itself into the healthcare industry regardless of the future changes to insurance or providers by playing both sides of the field.

Your hospice is in the people business first, then profit business. Humana is in the profit first, people second business. This takeover of Kindred and Curo just proved what many have been saying about the lack of care for its members by insurance companies. Just remember – your hospice can provide something a national chain can’t: a unique, local experience that surrounds patients with community not corporation.