Looking to promote its healthy lifestyle message to millennials, boomers and seniors, Humana, Inc. has expanded its sponsorship portfolio with two national partnerships.

The company has teamed with the National Park Foundation as the official health care sponsor of the National Park Service Centennial, around which it is hosting health-related activities at parks across the country.

In addition, Humana this month kicked off year two of a multiyear partnership with the Rock n Roll Marathon Series. The sponsorship includes naming rights to events in four markets: Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans and San Antonio.

Like other insurers, Humana is placing more focus on sponsorship and other consumer-facing marketing programs in the wake of the Affordable Care Act.

“Consumers are now very much at the center of the health care system. Humana is focused on helping people achieve their best health, no matter where they are on their personal health journey, and we strive to make an impact in the communities we serve,” said Michael Miller, Humana head of sponsorships.

Demonstrating the shift in marketing from business to consumer audiences, Humana in 2014 announced it would conclude its sponsorship of the PGA Tour Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation following the 2015 tournament. The company also ended its status as the tour’s official health benefits provider.

With the Humana Challenge in the past, the company now uses sponsorship to demonstrate its commitment to improving the health of the communities it serves, with millennials, boomers and seniors all representing key targets.

Humana is activating the National Park Foundation with activities ranging from “Senior Skip Day”—a program that offers free access to national park service sites and healthy activities—and “Park Prescription,” around which healthcare professionals develop programs designed to help patients improve their health through prescribed activities at local parks.

Humana employees kicked of the partnership with a GPS-based geo map at a local park near Humana’s Louisville, Kentucky headquarters. Consumers can access the maps via a GPS-enabled fitness app.

The insurer also is supporting the National Park Foundation with a fundraising program, around which it donates up to 10 cents per mile for bikers and 25 cents per mile for walkers and runners for every mile logged on the Charity Miles app.

Humana leverages the Rock n Roll Marathon Series with initiatives ranging from consumer engagement programs at race expos to sponsorship of the Humana Mile, a mile near the end of the race where runners often need additional motivation.

The insurer uses Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Periscope to share human interest stories, words of encouragement and inspirational health journeys via the #StartwithHealthy hashtag.

The company also hosts free “tune up” runs in markets where it titles races to reach consumers who may never have considered a 5K, said Molly Quinn, senior vice president of sales with the Competitor Group, which owns the Rock n Roll Marathon Series.

Using Local Ties To Promote Healthy Living
Humana sponsors food festivals, music festivals and other properties to promote its health message at the local level.

The company promotes healthy food options at the Taste of Chicago under the “Humana Healthier Choices” banner. Food items that meet calorie, sodium and other nutritional requirements receive a Green Apple sticker on the restaurant’s two menu boards.

The insurer sponsors Dollywood, Grand Ole Opry and other properties to promote Medicare Advantage products. The company activates Dollywood in late summer and early fall to build preference prior to the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicaid Annual Election period, a time when seniors can sign up, change or opt out of health plans.

Humana sponsors Dollywood in part to build relations with attraction owner Herschend Family Entertainment, a corporate client.

While Humana is increasing use of sponsorship, future activity remains in question following Aetna, Inc.’s proposed $37 billion acquisition of the healthcare company. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

“Until the transaction closes, Humana and Aetna remain separate, independent companies, and it’s premature to speculate how the transaction might change the approach to sponsorships. Humana remains committed to its sponsorship agreements fully in the place,” according to a company statement.