Healthy Groceries: Now Covered by a Plan Near You?

Imagine if your clients’ health insurance benefits included receipt of nutritious food. We can dream, right? Good news - this very benefit could be coming to an insurance plan near you. 

According to Forbes and Kaiser Health News, this health benefit could be built into 2019 health insurance plans as a step toward implementing elements of preventive-based medicine. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services alluded to this in recent news, saying, “…the agency is reinterpreting the standards for health-related supplemental benefits in the Medicare Advantage program to include additional services that increase health and improve quality of life, including coverage of non-skilled in-home supports and other assistive devices. CMS is expanding the definition of ‘primarily health related.’ Under the new definition, the agency will allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.”

While still quite general in nature, these health-related benefits may include food-based benefits, such as home-delivered meals, healthy groceries, or mobile groceries for improved access and convenience. Kaiser Health News noted that insurers would include these extras on top of providing the benefits traditional Medicare offers.

Will these benefits reduce healthcare spending? Will these benefits result in improved health for recipients? The possibilities for your clients remain to be seen and we look forward to learning what plans put into place for 2019. We’ll keep you posted! 

What do you think of insurance companies potentially implementing this additional health benefit?