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Humana (HUM) Brings Affordable MA Plan to U.S. Veterans

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Humana Inc. (HUM - Free Report) recently joined forces with USAA Life Insurance Company (USAA Life), the life insurance subsidiary of the diversified financial services provider USAA. With the help of the USAA unit, HUM will roll out a Medicare Advantage plan to address the diversified healthcare needs of U.S. veterans and their families.

Named Humana USAA Honor with Rx, the MA plan is devised by integrating Humana’s robust healthcare capabilities with the time-honored know-how of USAA. With the Annual Election Period in the offing, only Medicare-eligible individuals can enroll in the new plan, which will be offered from next year in eight U.S. states.

While the plan will be provided across Pennsylvania, the same will be extended to specific markets of Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona, California and Hawaii. The plan charges no premium and promises to add a few healthcare benefits to those that are usually enjoyed by the veterans via Veterans Affairs (VA), an agency of the U.S. federal government.

Members of the new health plan can avail both medical and prescription drug coverage benefits, with the latter being infused into an Honor plan for the first time. With the plan intending to provide extra benefits, members can access a broader ecosystem of in-network doctors and pharmacies. They will also benefit from hassle-free drug prescription refills close to their homes.  

Some other lucrative features of the product are premium refund, the option to avail dental and vision coverage via the USAA Health Flex Card and the one-month facility of no or minimal copays for prescriptions at in-network retail pharmacies. With so many benefits integrated, the ulterior motive of the plan remains to offer cost-effectiveness, convenience and personalized assistance to members.  

Humana seems prudent in choosing an apt time to launch the plan as the Annual Election Period will commence this Oct 15. During the period, more Medicare-eligible individuals are expected to enroll in the plan, given its multiple lucrative features. This, in turn, is expected to bolster the customer base of Humana’s Medicare Advantage business across markets where the new plan will be offered.

Management anticipates individual Medicare Advantage membership to increase in the range of around 150,000-200,000 for 2022. Also, the thought of formulating a new Medicare Advantage plan, which is meant to benefit people aged 65 and above, seems a well-timed move for Humana. This will cater to more people belonging to the growing greying population in the United States.

Shares of Humana have gained 6.5% year to date compared with the industry’s growth of 0.3%. HUM currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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Another healthcare provider Elevance Health (ELV - Free Report) recently announced a slew of suitable Medicare Advantage plans to gain more customers during the 2023 Annual Enrollment Period. The plans are cost-effective and will address the health needs of members with a comprehensive solution package and even include some supplemental benefits.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other top-ranked stocks in the Medical space are ShockWave Medical, Inc. (SWAV - Free Report) and Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. (PHIO - Free Report) , each currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

ShockWave Medical’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average being 180.14%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SWAV’s 2022 earnings is pegged at $2.57 per share. A loss per share of 26 cents was reported in the prior year. SWAV has a VGM Score of B.

The bottom line of Phio Pharmaceuticals beat estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the mark once, the average being 21.32%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for PHIO’s 2022 earnings is pegged at $1.28 per share. A loss per share of $1.04 was reported in the prior year. The consensus mark for PHIO’s 2022 earnings has moved 43.8% north in the past 60 days.

While shares of ShockWave Medical have gained 54.1% year to date, the Phio Pharmaceuticals stock has lost 46.3%.

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