Humana Medicare Advantage Plan Addresses High Fall Rates Among Older Adults in St. Louis

Originally Published by Humana.

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is offering a Medicare Advantage plan in St. Louis with a fall prevention benefit. The benefit is administered by Washington University in conjunction with The Home Hazard Removal Program (HARP), a home hazard removal and fall risk intervention delivered in the home by occupational therapists (OTs) to assess home hazards and reduce physical and financial burden due to falls. The program and its outcomes have demonstrated a reduction in falls during studies conducted by researchers at Washington University.

The fall prevention benefit is tailored for Medicare beneficiaries who live in St. Louis to address the high frequency of falls among this population a dangerous and costly problem that plagues Missouri with a high rate of injury by falling, 31 percent higher than the national average. The benefit is a part of the Humana Gold Plus (HMO) plan and is only available to members who are enrolled in the plan in St. Louis.

As part of the intervention program, Humana members whose diagnoses make them vulnerable to falling will work with a fully trained and certified OT up to three times a year. These diagnoses include members who’ve had a previous fall or fracture in the past twelve months or those who suffer from hip or knee joint pain. Members who qualify will have a comprehensive clinical in-home assessment to determine fall risks and home hazards, home hazard removal visits, a tailored hazard removal plan and a six-month follow-up to address new or recurring problems.

“Humana is committed to improving the lives of those we serve, and a component of that means helping people live safely at home, especially those who are most vulnerable to falls,” said Elizabeth Peterson, MD, Regional Vice President Health Services, Humana Medicare, Central Region. “There are often easily addressable solutions to home hazards that could lead to injury, impact quality of life and result in expensive medical bills. Our goal through the HARP program is to help our members to live where they choose and to enable them to stay active by reducing their risk of falling.”

According to the CDC, one out of every four seniors falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in older adults and result in $6.5 billion in annual hospital care costs. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion.

“The HARP program was designed to promote successful aging-in-place by focusing on what can be done to mitigate fall risks in the home,” said Susan Stark, PhD, Associate Professor, Program in Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, author of the HARP study. “Through tailored environmental interventions, this program has the potential to enhance performance of daily activities, which can ultimately result in safer living and reduced fall-related hospital visits.”

There are a wide range of risk factors for falling, including cognitive dysfunction, obesity, muscle weakness, motor problems, alcohol abuse, vision impairment and taking four or more medications. For those members utilizing the benefit, the OTs will address most in-home hazards using low-cost solutions, such as improved lighting, raised toilet seats, grab bars, and tub transfer benches. The Humana Gold Plus (HMO) plan also includes coverage of up to $250 for bathroom safety equipment deemed necessary.

The fall prevention benefit will be available to as many as 2,000 Humana members in the St Louis area beginning January 1, 2019. For more information, members can refer to their benefit guide. For more information about Humana’s 2019 Medicare offerings, visit or call toll-free 1-877-877-0714 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

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