Has Humana Simplified Health Care?

I happened to watch an expensive and heart-tugging Humana Health Plan TV commercial the other day. Besides the fact that it was a 60-second spot, which is virtually unheard of these days, it caught my attention because the message was about simplicity in a category that is far from simple.

If you drank the Kool-Aid and thought that the Affordable Care Act would make selecting and buying health coverage a snap, you, along with millions of others, were sadly mistaken. And that is because, with or without reform, there are a lot of decisions and intricacies to choosing a plan. Once you have that plan, it takes the prowess of a sea captain to navigate through it to take advantage of your benefits and minimize your expenses. Unless you are incredibly knowledgeable about how your coverage works, no amount of metal plated plans will help you avoid missteps.

Humana recognized that there was a positioning opportunity lying in the fields of consumer confusion. Their campaign, “Close the Gap,” aims to change the negative perception of health care by painting a picture of their simplified health plan with less red tape. They present physicians who are better connected to their patients, and services that allow seniors to remain in their homes instead of in a nursing home. And, if you look at their website, it would appear that they are attempting to do just that.

The irony of this campaign is that most health plans are already offering or working on ways to simplify their process to ensure that their members are receiving the coverage they need to stay healthy and out of the hospital. But the first lesson in positioning is to put a stake in the sand and be the first one to own a position. Humana has done this by owning the emotional benefits of a simplified health plan at a time when people are craving simplicity. Now, we just have to hope our government can find some ways to simplify the Affordable Care Act!

Photo Credit: Flickr’s Alex Proimos

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  • Dave Brudon

    Hey Liz – nice post. I agree Humana has staked out a position, and a compelling one at that. The worry is always delivering on the promise and I think Humana has either over promised or under delivered based on their web site content. I find their “real people” segment difficult to ascribe any real truthiness to (maybe a little overproduced?). At the end of the day health plans are pretty limited by what they can and can’t actually, really simplify. They have to play in a space that isn’t theirs to control – or simplify. It’s a tough category – but a nice effort on Humana’s part. (PS – “truthiness” is now included in Dictionary.com and they credit Colbert with the origin. I love it.)

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