Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Humana, Intel, Wal-Mart Stores, Aetna and Unitedhealth Group

Mar 22, 2011, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com Analyst Blog features: Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) and Unitedhealth Group, Inc. (NYSE: UNH).

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Humana Unveils Long-Term Policy

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) has launched a new and affordable long-term care insurance offering - HumanaOne Independent Care plan, which has the flexibility to ensure that individuals can pay for care from any resource they need in the case of chronic illness.

Humana has launched this plan in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee with the motive to make health choices available for individuals and to remove the health-related expense pressure.

The HumanaOne Plan helps individuals to plan for their own needs, as about 70% of U.S. people after the age of 65 need health care assistance at home or in a facility. So this plan will help in providing the freedom to choose who and how you pay for the assistance.

Humana, through this HumanaOne Plan, will offer its holders monthly cash payments, which they can use to cover their particular needs, such as engaging an aging-assistance concierge service, paying for groceries and pet care or reimbursing a neighbor who assists with daily living tasks. In addition, the policyholders eligible to begin receiving payments must receive certification of their chronic condition from a licensed health care practitioner.

In addition, Humana started a pilot project to improve the care of members with congestive heart failure using the Intel Health Guide.

The Intel Health Guide is a computer in a patient's home that provides daily monitoring of vital signs such as weight and blood pressure and transmits that information over the Internet. It is equipped with a two-way video so nurses and patients can talk face-to-face.

Humana partnered with Intel-GE Care Innovations, which is a joint venture between Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) and GE Healthcare.

The project thus allows Humana nurses to manage the care of patients anywhere in the country by using the Intel Health Guide. Nurses can also observe physical traits that may indicate changes in a member's condition and can alert physicians accordingly.

Humana reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of $1.65 per share on February 7, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 80 cents. This also compares favorably with earnings of $1.48 in the year-ago quarter.

In December, Humana also completed its acquisition of Concentra, which delivers occupational medicine, urgent care, physical therapy and wellness services to patients at more than 300 locations in 42 states.

The purchase of Concentra is expected to raise Humana's consolidated 2011 revenue by $800 million. Humana will also gain new opportunities in the growing area of health care. In addition, the deal will enhance Humana's business, diversify its revenue stream and provide opportunities for expansion.

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Humana offers various health and supplemental benefit plans in the U.S. The company markets its products through various channels, including television, radio, the Internet, telemarketing, and direct mailings, and has strategic alliances with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), State Farm, and United Services Automobile Association to market its products. It competes with Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) and Unitedhealth Group, Inc. (NYSE: UNH).

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