Healthy foods access made easier with food card benefit

Because food insecurity results in higher rates of chronic conditions, leading to increased medical costs and a reduced sense of overall well-being, Humana offered a Healthy Food Card Benefit with some 2020 Medicare Advantage plans in several states.

The benefit, for qualifying members with Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans, can be used to purchase healthy groceries and comes in the form of a wallet card that is loaded with a cash benefit each month, either $25 or $50, depending on need and plan. The card can be used at various national retailers.

As the food card is a new benefit in 2020, we have many members just using it for the first time. Humana MarketPoint sales representative Lisa Ruskanen said one of her clients with the benefit is vision impaired and relies on public transportation or a caregiver to run errands.

“He’s called me more than once this year saying that his caregiver tried to use the card but wasn’t able to use it,” she said. “He’s always been very nice about it and explains he’s not upset with me, but if this is a benefit in the plan and he’s not able to use it, it’s frustrating.

“I took advantage of the extra time we have during work at home/shelter in place and told him to make me a list and I would pick up the card and go shopping for him. I went to the store he normally goes to and purchased eggs, a gallon of milk, flour, butter, hot cereal, cheddar cheese, cranberry juice, and diet soda. The cashier ran the items through and then had me swipe the card. Everything worked exactly the way it was supposed to!”

Lisa said when she brought the items back to the member, he was happy to get those them and now has confidence to continue using it and to reach out to her if he encounters issues.

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