Healthways extends big Humana contract

SilverSneakers senior fitness deal will now run through 2016

National insurer Humana on Monday said it has extended its contract to offer Healthways' SilverSneakers Fitness Program to its members until 2016. The deal adds two years to the contract extension the two companies signed in January of last year.

Franklin-based Healthways has marketed SilverSneakers to Humana Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement members since 2004. More than 2.1 million Humana customers are eligible to take part, up from 1.8 million almost two years ago. At that time, more than one in five people had enrolled in he program, which encourages behavioral changes through physical activity and social events. In a recent survey of Humana SilverSneakers participants, 87 percent of new enrollees said they had exercised more than twice as often in 2011 as they had before enrolling.

"Humana has established their commitment to help people achieve lifelong well-being through the offering of comprehensive programs designed to promote all aspects of positive well-being for all age groups," said Healthways President and CEO Ben Leedle. "This important extension not only reflects Humana's steadfastness to the health and well-being of their older adult population, but is also a testament to a great working partnership between Humana and Healthways."

SilverSneakers was founded in 1993 and is available to more than 9 million Medicare beneficiaries. Word of Humana's extension comes a week after Florida insurer AvMed signed a similar deal.

Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) were down almost 2 percent to $11.21 in Monday afternoon trading. Year to date, they're up more than 60 percent.