Humana and health tech company DUOS have launched a new program to support veteran seniors with chronic conditions in Louisiana, the companies announced Wednesday.

Humana serves about 6 million active duty military and retirees across the country. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based DUOS is a digital health company that connects Medicare beneficiaries with social determinants of health and care navigation support through Medicare benefits, community resources and government programs.

Through the new program, which will run until the end of 2024, veterans with chronic conditions (who are members of Humana’s Medicare Advantage plans in Louisiana) will be connected with DUOS. They’ll start by completing a health assessment that determines their health-related social needs. They’ll then be connected to benefits and resources they have through their MA plan or Veterans’ benefits.

DUOS has provided support to veterans in the past through “various programs we have with Medicare Advantage health plans,” said Karl Ulfers, co-founder and CEO of DUOS, in an email. But he said what’s “unique” about this program with Humana is that it is specifically built for veterans.

“Not all Veterans are the same and based on their unique experiences, their care and resource needs vary from psychological to behavioral and our solution helps individuals navigate that ecosystem and get the right care,” Ulfers said.

USAA, a partner of Humana, trained DUOS personal assistants before the program began to “ensure a comprehensive understanding of military and Veteran culture,” according to a news release. The organization provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement services to more than 13 million people in the military, veterans and their families.

Humana has worked with DUOS on prior programs for other populations and “saw positive results in member activation and engagement, needs addressed, and satisfaction with the program,” said Emily McGrath, director of health equity strategy at Humana. Because of this, the insurer chose to partner with DUOS for its veteran program.

There is a need among its veteran members, McGrath added. Its veteran beneficiaries sometimes face barriers like financial strain, loneliness, food insecurity, transportation and housing insecurity. National data shows that veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless than non-veterans, and 5 million veterans live with a disability. In addition, one in five of the families supported by Feeding America have a family member who served in the military.

Through the partnership with DUOS, Humana’s goal is to remove barriers to care and improve health outcomes, McGrath said.

“Layering in chronic illness, Veteran status, Veterans Affairs benefits, Medicare benefits, social health barriers, and the ‘sea of goodwill’ can make it even more challenging for Veterans to know where to start,” she said. “With this program, DUOS is tailoring services to veterans with chronic conditions to address their unique aging needs and removing barriers to care.”

McGrath also said that Humana will evaluate the program at the end of the year to determine if it should expand into other markets. Ulfers added that DUOS hopes to scale the program to veterans nationwide. 

“With a significant number of Veteran seniors grappling with chronic conditions, the demand for care and solutions to meet their needs is more critical than ever. Our primary goal is to ensure that every Veteran, regardless of location, has access to the personalized care and support they deserve,” he said.

Photo: mstahlphoto, Getty Images