OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) this month began offering a free exercise program to Humana's Medicare members in five counties throughout the greater Kansas City area. Designed to offset the effects of aging and stimulate cognitive skills, the SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program is now available for Cass County, Platte County, Jackson County, Clay County, Missouri and Johnson County, Kansas seniors free of charge when they enroll in Humana's Gold Plus plan. On Sept. 1, Humana launched the fitness program, which is a key component of Humana's Medicare offering. The innovative exercise program focuses on cardiovascular health, muscle strength, balance, coordination and conditioning, and includes: * Free basic membership at eighteen HCD network fitness centers and YMCAs located in Kansas City, Independence, Blue Springs, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Raytown, Lee's Summit, Lenexa, Olathe, and Grandview (the full listing is available above the company boilerplate); * Specialized group exercise classes, taught by nationally certified SilverSneakers fitness instructors; * Personal assistance from a trained Senior Advisor(SM); and * Social events with other group members, and limited free visits for members' friends. Medicare-eligible individuals -- those 65 years+ of age or qualified by disability -- who choose Humana's Gold Plus plan can enroll in the program. The fitness program is a joint venture between Humana and HealthCare Dimensions, Inc (HCD), a national health management company. In addition to classes, SilverSneakers participants also enjoy other fitness center membership benefits. These include use of exercise equipment, weight training, circuit training and other amenities where available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of people aged 50 and older are sedentary. This has proven to result in a major risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure as determined by the American Heart Association. "From Humana's perspective as a leading health insurer, SilverSneakers is a win-win proposition," said Roger Diemert, MD, vice president senior products, Humana. "The impact of a lack of physical activity on medical care costs is likely to grow as a result of an aging population, unless trends in physical activity change. This novel program provides our Medicare members with an added benefit and offers them resources that may improve the quality of their life and may reduce their health care costs," he added. In fact, a leading health care actuarial firm found that older adults who exercise less than once a week have 8 percent higher medical costs than those who exercise regularly. "SilverSneakers allows health plan members to do something positive for their health and quality of life," said Mary Swanson, founder, president and CEO of HealthCare Dimensions, the Arizona-based company that designed and manages the SilverSneakers program. "The long-term benefits of regular exercise for senior adults are compelling." While the program may be new to Kansas City, the senior-focused fitness program was introduced to Humana members in January in Tampa Bay - resulting in an enrollment of more than 5,000 members within the first six months. To date, the program is also available to Humana Medicare Advantage members in portions of Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Humana plans to roll out both the Fitness Program and Steps Program during the next 24 months in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Colorado, Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The following fitness centers will be part of the HCD network in the greater Kansas City area: Summit Athletic Club, Clay Platte YMCA, State Avenue YMCA, 8th Street YMCA, Gregg Community Center, Linwood YMCA, Independence YMCA, Saint Lukes Center for Health Enhancement, Blue Springs Family YMCA, Quivira Sportsclubs - Overland Park, Paul Henson Family YMCA, Richard C. Green Sr. Family YMCA, Red Bridge Family YMCA, Hillcrest Community Center, Summit Fitness, Quivara Sportsclubs - Lenexa, Olathe Family YMCA, and The View. About Humana Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's largest publicly traded health benefits companies, with approximately 5.8 million medical members located primarily in 15 states and Puerto Rico. Humana offers coordinated health insurance coverage and related services -- through traditional and Internet-based plans -- to employer groups, government- sponsored plans and individuals. More information regarding Humana is available via the Internet at http://www.humana.com , including: * Annual report to stockholders; * Securities and Exchange Commission filings; * Most recent investor conference presentation; * Quarterly earnings press releases; * Audio archive of most recent earnings release conference call; * Calendar of events (includes upcoming earnings conference call dates, times, and access number, as well as planned participation in investor conferences); * Corporate Governance Information. About HealthCare Dimensions Since 1992, HealthCare Dimensions (HCD) has steadily emerged as a nationally-recognized leader in the health and wellness industry. HCD offers unique programming that allows health insurance companies and other large consumer groups the opportunity to motivate people to increase their physical activity, lower health risks and improve health status. Many of HCD's programs are targeted to specific populations such as older adults. HCD's signature offering, The SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program, is the nation's leading fitness program designed exclusively for seniors. Currently, 31 health plans in 18 states offer SilverSneakers at no additional cost to over 1.4 million Medicare-eligible members through a network of over 740 contracted fitness centers and class sites.
SOURCE Humana Inc.