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Humana tries plastic surgery on image

By KRIS HUNDLEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2003

Humana Inc., once known for its rigid physician network and nonstop complaints from patients, wants to change its image. The health care company, which cringes at the "managed care" label, has kicked off a marketing campaign with the tagline: "Guidance when you need it most."

According to Humana's announcement, "We want to . . . showcase our consumer-centric tools and products, our industry-leading technology capabilities and our smooth, efficient customer service that serves as a portal for a new kind of holistic customer experience."

Translation: Humana, like many insurers, is promoting new products that cost employers less and their employees more. Such plans reportedly saved Humana $2-million in claims for its own corporate employees last year.

"Humana's innovative products engage consumers more fully in choices based on individual budgets and health care needs," the company's release said.

So are you really sure you need that MRI and the brand name drug? Get out your checkbook.

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