How Health Plans Are Stepping Up to Combat Food Insecurity during COVID-19

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2020

This is the third in a series of blogs about how COVID-19 is affecting food insecurity in America.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, individual health plans across the country have been innovating to ensure their members are receiving much-needed nutrition during this time of heightened food insecurity.

The number of Americans who are food insecure—lacking money to buy enough nutritious food to sustain a healthy life—is projected to jump from 37 million (a rate of 11.5%) to 54 million (16.7%) in 2020 alone because of COVID-19. [1]

Across the entire Feeding America network, food banks are seeing more new faces than ever before. Roughly 2 in every 5 people visiting a food bank are seeking help for the first time.[2]

Below are highlights of how some health plans[3] are helping their members to stay fed and healthy.

  • Alignment Healthcare launched a crisis meal delivery program, providing two weeks of meals to members who cannot otherwise access food.
  • AmeriHealth Caritas expanded the delivery of medically tailored and ready-to-eat meals and groceries to the homes of members who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and to members at highest risk for complications due to the virus.
  • Anthem Blue Cross, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded its home-delivered meal program across California, and also significantly donated to the United Way and Feeding America. 
  • BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina and its Foundation are giving five free meals weekly to eligible homebound elderly. The contribution is anticipated to provide 245,000 meals.
  • Cigna is increasing the post-discharge meal benefit for its Medicare Advantage members, doubling the number of meals from 14 to 28 over a 14-day period, at no additional cost to members.
  • Health Alliance Plan expanded its program to deliver two weeks’ worth of ready-to-heat meals delivered to the homes of eligible members. 
  • Mississippi-based Magnolia Health is offering an additional 14 home-delivered meals to its Medicare Advantage members at no additional cost. The plan also announced members would have access to WellCare’s Community Connections Help Line, where representatives can help members coordinate additional services, including expanded meal program benefits.
  • SCAN Health Plan set aside emergency funding to address a variety of needs for vulnerable seniors and others at risk due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the delivery of nutritious meals to seniors in need.
  • UnitedHealthcare accelerating funds to state partners and providers to provide food and baby formula for people served by UnitedHealthcare Medicaid plans.

Mom’s Meals works with hundreds of health plans nationwide, including Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans, that have implemented or plan to implement a home-delivered meals benefit. We’re currently expanding our own operations to serve even more partners—thereby helping to meet the increased demand for nutritious, home-delivered meals for America's most vulnerable populations. Learn more


[1]https://www.feedingamerica.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/Brief_Local%20Impact_5.19.2020.pdf

[2]https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/covid-19-means-new-normal

[3] https://www.ahip.org/health-insurance-providers-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19

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