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Wendell Cherry and David Jones first launched Humana, Inc in 1961. Today it is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as HUM, but when it first appeared in Louisville, Kentucky it was actually a nursing home company. Its original name was Extendicare, and would later go on to become the most famous nursing home company operating in the United States. The company purchased a number of nursing homes before buying their first hospital in 1972. By the middle of the 1980's the company was the largest hospital company.


The name Extendicare was officially changed to Humana Inc in 1974 when the company began to change their direction.

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Humana saw a large amount of growth in the 1970s when they organized a massive takeover of American Medicorp Inc in 1978, which doubled the size of the company. By the mid 1970's, the company was able to open a new hospital every month and institute a new policy of fast-track construction. The company utilized a new system of processes that allowed them to overlap their construction and schedule construction much quicker. Humana was also able to create hospital projects from start to finish in a much faster time frame than previously thought possible. This made the process much more efficient and allowed the company to institute a new design. The new design called for open nurses stations, which kept the nurses in close proximity to the patients at all times of the day.

Humana completely changed the health case system in American during the 1980's when they introduced flexible health care plans and began marketing health insurance directly to consumers. In 1985 the company implemented the Humana Heart Institute for two doctors working in Louisville, Kentucky. These two doctors, Robert Jarvik and William DeVries would later go on to make the first artificial heart.

Humana shifted into consumer health benefits during the 1990's. The company created a subsidiary in 1993 to differentiate between health insurance and hospital operations. This new company was called the Galen Health Care Inc, but would later merge with Columbia/HCA. United made an attempt to purchase Humana in 1998, but failed and lost nearly a billion dollars in a single quarter. Humana decided in 1999 to enter the world of consumer driven health care. This new service launched on September 11, 2001.

Availity emerged in 2001 to give physicians the power to decide daily health plans and receive some business solutions. Nagivy Inc, which is a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc partnered with the company. They partnered with Virgin in 2005, and in 2003 began marketing health saving accounts to companies and individuals. The Business Health Care Group of Southeast Wisconsin is the largest representation of the company today. There are over 200 member companies and 150,000 health care customers that chose Humana as their company. This has helped Southeastern Wisconsin to lover their costs in the Midwest. They have implemented a strategy that utilizes collective purchasing, customer education, and structuring the accountability of shareholders. They also give their customers information on different providers.

Humana offers health benefit consumer services and is one of the most well known companies in the market. It is also the largest of all Fortune 500 Companies located in the state of Kentucky. Humana has a market cap of $13 billion, and $21.4 billion in revenue. They use over 25,000 employees across the country and have a customer base worth over $11.5 million. Humana operates in every state, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. Their international business interest lies in Western Europe. Humana was named one of the top 5 most admired healthcare companies in the US according to a 2007 issue of Fortune magazine.

In 2006 the company decided to market Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans for all eligible Medicare consumers across the country. This went into affect after Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. The company has also aligned with Wal-Mart and State Farm, which led them to tour the country and sign up 5 million customers. This led the company to reach #2 in terms of senior product companies. The company also launched RightSource, which serves the mail-order market for pharmacy coverage.