NU Online News Service, June 2, 2004, 12:53 p.m. EDT – Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky., will offer a 9.9% second-year rate increase cap to large employers that join its SmartAssurance health coverage program.[@@]

Humana has designed the program for employers with at least 500 employees that buy Humana SmartSuite coverage.

The SmartSuite program offers a family of health plans, including health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organization plans, that come with extra employee education and electronic plan management tools.

Humana launched the program in 2001, and groups enrolled in the program long enough to have actuarially reliable data have had average annualized claim cost increases in the “mid single digits,” Humana says.

Humana says the rate of increase for the Smart plan groups is about half the national average for all groups.

To be eligible for the SmartAssurance second-year rate cap, employers must agree to use certain Web-based education and plan management tools, Humana says.