NORTHFIELD, Ill., Nov. 16, 2023 – Medline today announced a new Food Benefit Solution allowing Medicare Advantage and Managed Medicaid Organizations to offer locally sourced fresh produce, healthy groceries and prepared meals—delivered directly to member homes—as an added supplemental benefit.
A healthy diet contributes to overall wellness, protects against heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and can lower annual medical costs by an estimated average of more than $1,800 each year. By 2025, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require Medicare Advantage Organizations participating in the Value Based Insurance Design model to offer supplemented benefits in at least two of three health-related social need areas—food, transportation or housing. The effort is designed to help address social determinants of health—environmental conditions that impact people’s health, well-being and quality of life.
“Access to a food benefit can help members meet their nutritional needs, encourage healthier eating habits, and manage and prevent chronic diseases,” said Amy Rogers, BSN, RN, Medline senior clinical resource manager. “For healthcare insurance providers, Medline’s Food Benefit Solution adds healthy food options to Medicare Advantage plans; an attractive ‘extra’ in a competitive market.”
According to recent research, 77% of Medicare beneficiaries value receiving healthy food, and members who have access to healthy food experience an 11.6% reduction in healthcare service use.
Through Medline’s Food Benefit Solution, members can easily go online, and utilizing their allotted benefits, select from three food categories:
- Produce Boxes: Vegetable only, fruit only, or a combination of both
- Grocery Boxes: Variety boxes with prepared meals, produce, and/or healthy groceries, staples and snacks
- Prepared Foods: Five, seven, ten and fourteen-meal combination boxes
The produce is locally and regionally-sourced, the grocery options are selected for their healthy ingredients, and the prepared meals are medically-tailored with no additives or fillers. In addition, produce and prepared meals are delivered in insulated boxes, ensuring appropriate temperature levels during transportation and delivery.
“We are confident this new program will be a positive addition to our LiveWell OTC program so we can allow plan members to easily use their supplemental benefits on both OTC and food products, said Katie Lavelle, director of business development, Health Plans, Medline. “Food is an attractive, cost-effective benefit, supporting health equity, enhancing the member experience, building loyalty, minimizing the need for end-of-year rebates, and reducing overall care costs.”
The Medline Newsroom recently spoke with Senior Clinical Resource Manager for Medline Nutrition Amy Rogers about the food as medicine movement and Medline’s new Food Benefit Solution. Learn more at https://newsroom.medline.com/expert-views/food-as-medicine-the-benefits-of-healthy-eating-for-older-adults/ .
On December 7, 2023, Medline will host a webinar with registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa Roberson to outline key challenges of the Food as Medicine movement and identify possible mitigation solutions. Register for the webinar at https://medline.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2g4o_LSKQ2ae74-b9yoObQ#/registration.