Louisville-based health insurer Humana turned 50 on Thursday with a celebration at the KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville.
The company, which employs 35,200, has undergone several changes over the years. Humana began as a nursing home company and then changed in the 1970s and '80s into the nation's largest hospital company. In the early 1990s, Humana spun off its hospitals and began focusing on health benefits, which it continues to do today.
"Humana's success through the years would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the communities where we operate and the people — especially Humana associates and the customers they serve — who have made this company what it is today," said CEO Mike McCallister in a statement.
At the end of last year, the company had about 10.2 million members in its medical-benefits plans, as well as about 7.1 million members with specialty products.
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The company recently increased its earnings forecast for 2011, as it's luring more customers to its Medicare plans and many aren't using medical services as much.
In commemoration of the company milestone, McCallister, along with Humana co-founder David A. Jones and other company officials, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon. Shares of Humana closed Thursday at $72.04, down $2.25.