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Humana (HUM) Partners with MDLIVE, Improves MA Plans

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Humana Inc. (HUM - Free Report) recently joined forces with MDLIVE, a renowned telemedicine services and software provider, to improve its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in Georgia. The alliance mainly aims to provide virtual access to doctors in selected counties across Georgia and South Carolina to the Medicare beneficiaries of Humana. MDLIVE’s board-certified doctors are already known for catering to patients’ needs and hence, the alliance will benefit Humana’s MA members. This is the first year of telemedicine benefit offered on Humana’s Regional Medicare Advantage PPO plans in the concerned counties.

This telemedicine benefit will be added to certain MA plans of Humana that are to be offered in 2017. Notably, Humana offered this benefit on a few plans in 2016 as well and received immense appreciation from its members. Members opting for these special plans will gain access to doctors through computers, telephones or mobile devices. The doctors can be contacted for numerous non-emergency conditions as well with the appropriate co-pay for each visit.

With this telemedicine benefit, doctors can now be easily reached even beyond their scheduled working hours. People who have difficulties in travelling due to illness can also gain access to doctors by enrolling into these special MA plans.

However, the telemedicine benefit will not be applicable for emergency situations or chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes. The telemedicine benefit also does not substitute an in-person visit with a primary care physician or other provider. Nonetheless, the restrictions on healthcare and prescription services offered by the telemedicine benefit differ according to the concerned state.

Humana’s clinical data technology ensures that individual health records remain available to the MDLIVE physicians’ network. The MDLIVE clinicians’ prescribed treatment will also be shared with the members’ primary care physicians to maintain transparency at both ends. Existing Medicare members may choose the plans between Oct 15 and Dec 7, 2016 –the annual Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan enrollment period. Those that opt for the plan with telemedicine benefit will be eligible to start using the service from Jan 1, 2017.

Humana remains committed to helping its members achieve optimal health by providing innovative and value-added solutions that cater to customers’ changing healthcare needs. We note that growing enrollment  drove the company’s solid results in third-quarter 2016. Humana presently carries Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Other Stocks to Consider

Investors can also look at other well-ranked medical sector stocks like WellCare Health Plans Inc. (WCG - Free Report) , UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH - Free Report) and Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INFI - Free Report) .

WellCare sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company delivered positive surprise in the last four quarters with an average beat of 40.01%

Another Zacks Rank #1 medical sector stock is Infinity Pharma. The company delivered positive surprises in each of the last four straight quarters with an average beat of 67.62%.

UnitedHealth carries a Zacks Rank #2.  The company delivered positive surprises in all the last four quarters with a average beat of 3.86%.

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