Addressing food insecurity among the senior population, health coverage provider Clover Health is adding groceries to its benefits. Eligible Clover Health members who meet certain criteria, including underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable, will qualify to receive up to $125 in a quarterly stipend that can be used at participating retailers to purchase food, non-alcoholic beverages and other OTC items like vitamins and ibuprofen.
Shoppers with the benefit can present the card at checkout to be scanned and redeemed. The phased-in rollout begins Aug. 1 with eligible members in Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina receiving a $20 grocery stipend along with their existing OTC benefit. Beginning Oct. 1, Clover members in Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas markets will receive the combined benefit.
Retailers who accept Clover Health benefits include Acme Markets, CVS, Duane Reade, Food Lion, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Walgreens and Walmart. The company plans to add more retailers over the next several months and years.
“About 80% of Clover members have an underlying health condition, which means basic food access is vital to maintaining their physical and mental health. The inspiration for a grocery stipend stems from the countless empty fridges our nurses encounter when checking on our members in their homes. This benefit isn’t just about improving nutrition — we’re addressing food insecurity in its truest form; where people often have to make a hard choice between buying food, filling their prescriptions, or paying their utility bills,” said Vivek Garipalli, Clover's CEO.
Clover Health is a preferred provider organization (PPO) and health maintenance organization (HMO) with a Medicare contract that manages care for beneficiaries in 11 states. The company describes itself as a next-generation risk bearing organization aiming to achieve health equity for all Americans, particularly focusing on seniors who have historically lacked access to affordable high quality healthcare.