On average, food insecurity adds about 11% to the health care costs of older adults with and without a specific chronic condition, according to a report by the CDC and a survey conducted by Cigna found that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Humana’s Bold Goal program aims to address roadblocks to health like loneliness and food insecurity for its Medicare Advantage members through local partnerships in several cities across the country. The insurer will use non-clinicians in a variety of settings, according to Caraline Coats, Vice President of Humana’s Bold Goal and Population Health Strategy. Free health screenings in barber shops and beauty salons in Kansas City and a pilot program with a company called “Papa” in Tampa, FL connects college students with lonely seniors. Humana is analyzing data to identify those people enrolled in its health plan who could benefit, like those who live near parks. If successful, there may be up to 1 million of these so-called social determinant health screenings through the Bold Gold initiative this year, up from 1,000 in 2017.
Here’s another thought to further the goal – Anthem recently acquired the behavioral company Beacon Options, and Beacon is launching a national effort to provide telehealth support for college kids who are struggling with the transition. Maybe pie in the sky, but perhaps Beacon and Humana could share data and connect the lonely college kid with the lonely senior….