News

Six Things to Know About Humana

Jul 3, 2015
WikiMedia Commons

Aetna’s move to buy Louisville-based health insurance company Humana means a big change for one of the city’s most prominent companies. The sale agreement was announced Friday and won’t close for a while, but until then Louisville leaders will be considering what changes are in store for the city. Here’s some basic information about Humana:

  • Louisville-based health care company Humana was founded in 1961 by Louisville lawyers David Jones and Wendell Cherry.
  • What began as a chain of nursing homes and hospital acquisitions has become a different business through a series of changes. Humana now has 57,000 employees and insures more than 14 million through Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plans. It’s Louisville’s second-largest employer. About 12,000 employees are reported to be in Louisville.
  • In 1981, Humana Inc. established The Humana Foundation, which serves as the philanthropic side of the company. The foundation has supported events, festivals–including the Humana Festival of New American Plays–and other causes. The Foundation’s focus is improving long-term community health. has donated more than $250 million to nonprofit organizations and social institutions.
  • Humana Inc.’s offerings includes retail, employer group, and healthcare services. They sell retail items to individuals, products and plans to employer groups, and control businesses which offer various health-related services.
  • Before the planned sale, Humana had an estimated $32-billion market value. That places as one of the county’s largest health care companies, though smaller than Aetna ($41 billion) . Humana has reportedly been  in talks with potential buyers recently.
  • Some analysts predict that if Humana were a part of a larger company, it could negotiate better doctor contracts and create a stronger network of providers.

Another southern Indiana county might declare a state of emergency over increasing rates of HIV and hepatitis C.

Clark County, which is just across the Ohio River from Louisville, is considering the move in light of the recent outbreak in neighboring Scott County.

Scott County, Indiana, has received national attention recently following a spike in HIV and hep-C, blamed on the use of dirty needles used by addicts who are injecting heroin and the painkiller opana.

The Courier-Journal reports Clark County public health officer Kevin Burke is considering declaring a public emergency after it was discovered that a current HIV case in his county was linked to the Scott County outbreak. A public emergency would allow the creation of a needle exchange program, something proponents say is necessary to slow the spread of disease and offer treatment options to addicts.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden says the 4,200 person town of Austin, in Scott County, has a higher per-capita rate of HIV infection than any country in sub-saharan Africa.

Aetna to Buy Rival Health Insurer Humana

Jul 3, 2015

Health insurer Aetna Inc. has made a deal to buy Louisville-based competitor Humana Inc. in a $37 billion deal the companies say would create the second-largest managed care company.

Adding Humana's large business in Medicare Advantage, the federal health care program for seniors, would make Humana the nation's largest Medicare Advantage provider.

Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna says it will retain Humana's Louisville headquarters as the base for its Medicare, Medicaid and military Tricare businesses.

David Dubofsky is a finance professor at the University of Louisville. He says the deal was inevitable.

“In order to be competitive these companies are being forced to get bigger, they have to realize cost saving, the cost savings unfortunately come at the cost of the employees and ten they have to have more market power to be able to reduce their costs which are the payments they make to doctors," Dubofsky noted.

Dubofsky says he expects the deal to bring higher rates and lead to a reduction in local jobs because of duplication.

Humana is Louisville’s largest publicly-traded company, with a workforce of more than 12,000.

Lightning Strikes Monument Honoring Confederate President

Jul 3, 2015
Kentucky Department of Parks

As Kentucky officials began considering what to do with a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the state Capitol, lightning struck a concrete obelisk that stands at his birthplace in Western Kentucky.

WHAS-TV reports chunks of the obelisk went flying when it was struck in Fairview, about 200 miles away from Frankfort.

Spokesman Gil Lawson of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said the monument had minor damage from the strike Friday but no structural damage. No injuries were reported.

A day earlier, the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission agreed to seek input from the public and art and history experts about the fate of the Capitol statue.

Several state leaders have endorsed moving the Davis statue in response to a shooting rampage that killed nine black people in a South Carolina church.

Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk who is refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses -- or any marriage licenses at all -- following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told The Associated Press that her Christian beliefs prevented her from complying with the decision, so she decided to issue no more marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against her Thursday afternoon on behalf of four couples: two homosexual and two heterosexual couples who each tried to get licenses from Davis' office this week and were turned away.

Davis is among a handful of judges and clerks across the South who have defied the high court's order.

Kentucky's two major party candidates for governor are not taking a day off for Independence Day.

Republican nominee Matt Bevin and Democratic nominee Jack Conway will be traveling the state on Saturday to participate in a variety of Independence Day celebrations as both seek to become Kentucky's next governor. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Bevin and Conway are scheduled to participate in the Campbellsville Fourth of July celebration, which includes speeches and a parade. Bevin will then walk in the Fort Mitchell Parade at noon while Conway will walk in the Lexington Fourth of July parade at 2 p.m.

The two candidates are scheduled to appear together on July 23 at the Measure the Candidates forum at the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

The Fourth of July is almost here, and that means fireworks season.

Officials say the safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a public display. But the Kentucky Fire Commission, which is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Versailles, says people who want to set off fireworks in a county where it is allowed should follow these guidelines:

   --Buy from a reputable dealer and follow manufacturer directions.

   --Have water nearby to extinguish discarded fireworks or for an emergency.

   --Place fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and buildings.

   --Light one firework at a time.

   --Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.

   --Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away.

   --Don't let young children handle or ignite fireworks.

   --Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

   --Stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire.

WKU PBS

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell weighed in on the 2016 presidential race at a luncheon in downtown Lexington Thursday. 

The Senate Majority Leader warned against the crowded field of Republican candidates getting too contentious. There are fourteen politicians jockeying to secure the Republican nomination for president next year.

McConnell warned against the race becoming unnecessarily brutal.

“You saw in the Kentucky governor’s primary if you get into a fight with somebody else in a multi-field candidate you could end up taking yourself down and whoever you’re feuding with down and somebody else benefits from it.”   

Former Republican candidates for governor Hal Heiner and James Comer launched attacks at one another, and on Election Day got bested by Matt Bevin, who stayed out of the fight for the most part. McConnell never made an official endorsement in the primary. It was widely speculated he and Bevin didn’t get along-- Bevin never endorsed McConnell after getting beaten by him in last year’s U.S. Senate race.

A county clerk in Kentucky is standing firm in his decision not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis has asked Governor Beshear to provide some alternative for clerks who have moral objections to the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. 

Casey County remains one of only three counties in Kentucky that are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Davis says he’s tired of being told he’s not doing his job.

"I did take an oath and the oath didn't say in it that I would lay aside my personal beliefs and do my job," Davis told WKU Public Radio.  "The oath does say that I will do this job to the best of my ability, so help me God, and my ability cannot go past what my conscience will allow."

Davis is also refusing to issue marriage licenses to heterosexual couples so that he can’t be accused of discrimination.  He doesn’t see it as an inconvenience since marriage licenses can be obtained in any Kentucky county and not just the county where a couple lives. 

Davis says his constituents can vote him out in the next election, but he will not resign from office as some county clerks in other states have done.

PGA Tour Photo

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear played golf with Tiger Woods on Wednesday.

The two-term Democratic governor was part of a foursome in a pro-am golf event before the start of the Greenbrier Classic, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour in West Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Beshear's spokesman, Terry Sebastian, said Beshear was thrilled to play with Woods, calling him a golf legend. The team finished 9 under par, and Sebastian said Beshear picked up three of those strokes for the team.

Woods has won 14 major championships. Beshear is finishing up his second term as Kentucky's governor. He cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

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