Humana, Mom's Meals food delivery pilot boosts members' quality of life: study

Humana members are seeing improvements in their health and quality of life under a pilot food delivery program with Mom's Meals.

The initiative’s part of the insurer's effort to address members’ health-related social needs and was a component of Humana’s Bold Goal, which aims to boost the health of the communities it serves.

Here’s how it works: fully prepared, refrigerated meals across the nation are provided by Mom’s Meals, which also caters to the Medicaid, Medicare and individual markets.

By the time the year-long program wound down, some 86% of the participating members concurred: the home delivery of diabetes-friendly meals was paramount to their overall well-being, according to results released Monday. More findings will be shared at the AHIP Institute and Expo this week.

“The Humana Bold Goal strategy is focused on measurably improving the health of the members and communities we serve by addressing social determinants of health and health-related social needs,” said Jennifer Spear, population health strategy lead at Humana, in a statement. “The research-intensive design for this pilot translated to a successful and sustainable program that allowed for the support of vulnerable members year-round.”

RELATED: Humana members see fewer physically unhealthy days amid pandemic: report

A total of 14 diabetes-friendly meals were delivered to the homes of 367 enrollees with diabetes who also screened positive for food insecurity, as part of the pilot program. They received the meals during the fourth week of each month, covering all of that year.

The last week of the month was chosen as those with food insecurity might have more finite resources, according to the announcement. Consequently, their choices, such as skipping meals, might not be best for their health.

In addition, research shows there’s a jump in the fourth week of the months in hypoglycemic episodes, culminating in emergency department visits and inpatient hospitalizations among individuals with low incomes, the companies said. Addressing this monthly cycle could translate into Improved outcomes and a reduction in health care costs.

“By preventing both high and low blood glucose in people with diabetes, we can prevent repeat hospitalizations, improve members’ health outcomes and reduce the cost of care,” said Catherine Macpherson, vice president of product strategy and development and chief nutrition officer for Mom’s Meals, in a statement. “Providing medically appropriate meals to those who need them is feasible and creates positive clinical results, including improvements in both physical and mental health.”