Anthem, Humana, UnitedHealth partner with grocery stores to keep members healthy

Three insurers--Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth--hope to compel their members to eat better by partnering with local grocery stores to create special member programs that provide discounts of up to 10 percent on certain healthy foods, reported Kenosha News.

The grocery programs show that insurers increasingly adopt a preventive care approach to insurance. UnitedHealth, for example, has been working to capitalize on the fact that retail is a "significant portion of individuals' lives" by creating new retail partnerships so consumers can access all aspects of the insurance industry, Tom Paul, chief consumer officer at UnitedHealth, previously told FierceHealthPayer in an exclusive interview.

The nation's largest insurer has recently partnered with Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Roundy's Supermarkets to launch its Healthy Savings program, which lets members save money on certain grocery products.

"Healthy Savings gives people the opportunity to make healthier food choices and improve their diets, which will make a tremendous difference in their health and well-being," said Dustin Hinton, CEO UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin. "This new program now makes it easier and more affordable for Wisconsin families."

The free program, which is available to UnitedHealth members with a fully insured employer-sponsored plan, can save members as much as $150 each month on food from more than 140 food producers, manufacturers and distributors. Each week, members are allowed to buy up to 75 of the identified items.

Humana introduced its healthy food program three years ago and has continued to upgrade it. The insurer now offers 10 percent savings to its Humana Vitality members who use a card to buy certain qualifying foods at Wal-Mart stores. The program has been popular, as 40 percent of Humana's members are enrolled in it, the Kenosha News noted. The program is part of Humana's larger bet on 'lifestyle medicine,' which includes healthy eating, as a way to treat chronic conditions.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, meamwhile, has its own version of a grocery program that gives members coupons for food and household products. The coupons are meant to "help support healthy lifestyles," an Anthem spokesperson told the Kenosha News. "The idea is to help consumers make a series of small decisions that may lead to overall improvements in health." 

To learn more:
- read the Kenosha News article