Returning the Favor: How Humana has teamed up with leading VSOs to help improve the lives of veterans everywhere
Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and American Veterans (AMVETS) are powerful allies for America’s military veterans. They are accredited national agencies that not only advocate for military members and retirees, but they also take a proactive role in addressing the needs veterans face in their everyday lives.
By working hand in hand with VSOs, Humana gets an intimate look at the needs of veterans, affording them the privilege to help tackle the most important issues facing this community today.
The Importance of VSOs
“The VSOs are talking to veterans every day,” Dee Hughes, a Humana Regional Veteran Executive, Gold Star Mother and military spouse, tells We Are the Mighty. “The work we do with those organizations is beneficial to everyone involved.”
VSOs and the officers who work for them help veterans when they’re leaving the military or signing up for their benefits. As those vets get older or if they have a disability and receive certain disability benefits, they need different expertise, including guidance on navigating Medicare plans. Humana’s staff works with these trusted organizations to provide that expertise.
“Veteran service officers are really on the front line, but something they don't need to worry about is answering questions about Medicare, which we all know can be complicated,” says Darin Davis, who is an Army National Guard veteran and Humana Regional Veteran Executive.
By teaming up with VSOs, Humana has been able to directly ask veterans what an ideal Medicare Advantage plan, one that complements their VA benefits, might look like. Through those conversations, they created Humana USAA Honor plans, which are available to anyone eligible for Medicare, including veterans’ spouses, but are designed in a way that may work alongside the benefits a veteran receives through VA health care.
“In 2011, Humana made a commitment to hire a team of veterans to get out there in our communities,” Hughes says of Humana’s team of veteran executives, like herself and Davis. “Frankly, we had a whiteboard and asked ourselves what we could do to help these veterans. We dispersed them across the United States and developed plans designed to complement VA benefits. How cool is that?”
How Humana Works with VSOs
The relationship between Humana and America’s most trusted VSOs helps veterans navigate their health care options. Humana and VSOs collaborate on veteran issues to address health-related social needs, support veteran recognition events, and provide local resources for veteran health care and day-to-day living.
DAV and Humana are working on national and local programs to help veterans get the health care and assistance they need. Humana’s relationship with the VFW led to the VFW’s Uniting to Combat Hunger campaign, which fights food insecurity among veterans. Alongside VSOs, Humana is focused on addressing barriers to health, such as loneliness and social isolation, which is the focus of the Far From Alone campaign to improve mental health and wellness through social connectedness. Through all its work with VSOs, Humana is focused on educating veterans and their communities.
Humana has also joined PsychArmor, a leading training provider for military culture awareness, to produce a new video-based curriculum to educate veterans about veteran service officers, their benefits and services. Called “15 Things Veteran Service Officers Want You To Know,” it’s designed to dispel myths around identifying as a veteran and applying for the benefits they earned as well as address concerns that many veterans do not self-identify or file VA claims.
Veteran Suicide Prevention
The latest activation following years of dedication came in the summer of 2023. Humana’s philanthropic arm, The Humana Foundation, was the first organization to join USAA and the USAA Foundation in their Face the Fight™ initiative to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention. The Face the Fight™ coalition has expanded to more than 50 corporations, foundations and organizations to fund grants with a shared goal of cutting the veteran suicide rate in half by 2030.
“I think the biggest thing we bring to the table is our relationship with USAA and Face the Fight,” says Davis. “We looked out across the VSO landscape and noticed that everybody had a mission to reduce veteran social isolation and suicide, but everyone was doing their own thing. This pulls everyone together.”
The Face the Fight™ website is an online resource to help direct veterans in need to a nonprofit partner that helps vets overcome their unique, but shared community issues.
“A lot of veterans spent their whole careers putting others before themselves,” Davis says. “I think we've just been trained to put everybody else's needs above our own, so asking for help is just not something many veterans are comfortable with. It's imperative that we get it right the first time and recognize their issues in the first place.”
About Humana USAA Honor Plans
For the first time, all of Humana’s veteran-focused Medicare Advantage plans are now co-branded as Humana USAA Honor plans and will be available to more beneficiaries in more locations for the 2024 plan year. These plans are available to Medicare-eligible individuals during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, with coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Veterans and Medicare households have access to Humana Customer Care specialists who collaborated with USAA to receive special training to better serve the unique healthcare needs of veterans—many specialists are veterans themselves and can make it easier for them to manage their health.
Individuals can visit www.Humana.com/Medicare/Veterans or call toll-free 1-833-585-8387 (VETS) (TTY: 711) 8 a.m.–8 p.m., seven days a week, to speak to an agent who is trained to support the unique needs of veterans.
Disclaimers: The Humana USAA Honor plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare and veterans should consider all of their health plan options. Humana Insurance Company pays royalty fees to USAA for the use of its intellectual property. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Use of the term “USAA member” or “USAA membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. USAA and the USAA Logo are registered trademarks of the United Services Automobile Association. All rights reserved. No Department of Defense or government agency endorsement.