Healthways inks big Brazilian contract

Five-year deal with insurer opens up 1.5M people to services

Healthways officials this morning said they have signed an agreement to begin working with up to 1.5 million Brazilians covered by that country’s largest health insurer.

The five-year contract between Healthways and SulAmérica, which has more than 2.5 million health and dental plan members, calls for the Franklin-based company to launch a wide-ranging assessment of the health and well-being of the SulAmérica members this quarter. Healthways and SulAmérica officials will this year also develop a plan to roll out other parts of Healthways’ service spectrum.

“We chose Healthways, as a global leader, to improve our health management capabilities, so that we could reach all our members with scalable solutions,” said SulAmérica President Gabriel Portella. “Today we are expanding our capabilities with this partnership to improve our competitive position by providing advanced programs that further strengthen healthcare in Brazil.”

The SulAmérica contract is Healthways’ second in Brazil, coming five years after the launch of a 10-year contract to provide disease management services via a partnership with Fleury S.A. Thanks to a growing middle class, Brazil’s health care market is in the middle of a boom. In a statement, Healthways and SulAmérica noted that the country’s five most valuable health care and insurance companies have posted sales growth by an average of 29 percent per year since 2010.

“In the world's sixth-largest economy and the fifth-most populous nation, SulAmérica will be pioneering new ways to help keep healthy people healthy, reduce modifiable life-style risks and optimize care for those with known chronic disease or persistent health conditions,” said Healthways President and CEO Ben Leedle.

Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) were flat in late-morning trading at $11.70. So far in 2013, they’re up about 10 percent.