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Humana gets Ill. Medicare-Medicaid contract

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Health insurer Humana Inc. said Monday that it will participate in a project designed to lower health care costs for people who are eligible for both federal Medicare and state-run Medicaid programs.

Humana said it will be one of six companies participating in the project for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The companies will try to reduce costs by coordinating Medicare and Medicaid programs for about 118,000 people in six counties in the Chicago area. The project is expected to begin in the second quarter and won't have a significant effect on the company's results in 2013.

Medicare serves the elderly and disabled, while Medicaid provides coverage for the poor though state and federal funding. The two programs operate independently of each other, for the most part. Medicare generally helps pay for doctor and hospital visits and prescription drugs. Medicaid typically helps pay for long-term care, such as nursing homes, among other services. The lack of coordination between the programs means "dual eligible" members generate outsize expenses.

Humana said it has 200,000 Medicare members in Illinois and about 5.3 million nationwide.

Humana shares rose 39 cents to close at $69.16.