Humana pushes new small-biz plan

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 22, 2007

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In a bid to win the allegiance of small business owners, Humana has introduced a program called "No Worry."

Employers agree to buy health insurance from Humana for three years. In exchange, Humana promises that premiums won't go up more than 6% in years two and three. If business owners get employees to fill out health surveys for Humana and add dental coverage, Humana will further limit premium increases to 4.5%.

But over the course of those three years, the business has to move from a traditional PPO plan to a high-deductible plan paired with health spending accounts.

The plans are offered in 17 states and in most states are limited to companies with between 51 and 99 employees. John Wiesler, Humana's vice president for small business sales, said the "No Worry" arrangement doesn't cost more up front -- the plans have the same benefit and network structure they would be otherwise, and cost the same.

Brad Blain, an account executive with Al Torstrick insurance brokerage in Lexington, Ky., said small businesses he works with are looking for ways to ease into consumer-directed plans. "The problem is taking the initial leap to a $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 deductible," he said.

Blain and fellow brokers attended a briefing about "No Worry," and he said they weren't immediately convinced it was any better value for their customers than buying the policies outside the "No Worry" plan.

"The whole concept is not bad in itself, but the concern I and some other agents had when you looked at it is how much the plan design itself reduced the rate," he said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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