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Well-being enhancement company Healthways (HWAY - Analyst Report) recently revealed that Highmark Inc. has decided to extend the Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program by 2 years for its eligible enrollees. This program will be made available to over 460,000 Highmark Medicare Advantage enrollees in the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

SilverSneakers is an exercise regimen designed to keep the elderly healthy. The program encourages older people to engage in physical activity thereby increasing their well being and cutting down on healthcare expenditure. In this regard, recent results from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reveal that the elderly who are engaged in the SilverSneakers program enjoy greater well being despite the growing incidence of disease with age. SilverSneakers includes not only exercise but also nutritional and social aspects.

Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is one of the biggest plans in the country and caters to 4.9 million enrollees in Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

The Healthways model encourages people to make favorable lifestyle changes that lead to enhanced well-being, reduced healthcare costs, improved performance and economic value. The company has invested in technology platforms that provide scalable support with large populations. It has tie-ups with a large proportion of U.S. health plans and counts many millions of lives in its customer base.

Due to its unique scalable business model, Healthways shares present a compelling, long-term investment opportunity although it may face many challenges in the short to medium term. Healthways is the leader in a strategically critical and rapidly evolving part of the health care services market. Its fitness program (SilverSneakers) for seniors is available at 14,000 centers across the U.S. and caters to 9 million eligible enrollees.

Healthways competes with Express Scrips (ESRX - Analyst Report) among others. Currently we are Neutral on Healthways, which is in line with a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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