Instacart expands access to food as medicine by partnering with Alignment Healthcare, InComm Payments

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Instacart
Source: Instacart

Related tags Instacart SNAP food as medicine Futureproofing the food system

Instacart and Alignment Healthcare will offer co-branded Medicare Advantage plans in 2024, which will allow participating consumers in qualifying counties to be reimbursed by Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and other eligible programs for “eligible groceries, wellness essentials and over-the-count drugs for delivery via Instacart.”

Beginning in the new year, the grocery delivery service also will accept health benefits as a form of payment for eligible products by beneficiaries using InComm Healthcare’s Dual Network Benefit Card.

Today’s announcements expand the grocery delivery service’s effort to scale food as medicine programs, improve access to nutritious food and inspire healthy choices through its Instacart Health program launched in September 2022.

It also complements Instacart’s existing Senior Support Service program, which allows customers older than 60 years to work with a specialist who can set up for them an Instacart account and place orders, if they need additional assistance.

“At Instacart, we believe that everyone should have access to the essentials they need, and that access to nutritious foods can ultimately lead to better health,” Sarah Mastrorocco, VP and general manager of Instacart Health, said in a same day blog post.

“Unfortunately,” she explained, “millions of seniors struggle to put nutritious food on their tables and get the over-the-counter items they need to live well.”

Citing Alignment Health’s second annual Social Threats to Aging Well in America​ survey released in September, Mastrorocco noted “the top social issues impacting senior health include economic instability, food insecurity and a lack of transportation access, which exacerbates food insecurity by making it difficult to get to a grocery store.”

This is where Instacart can help. Through its Instacart Health program and partnerships with Alignment Health and InComm Payments it will give “ill seniors greater independence and convenience using the power of Instacart’s technology,” she added.

Partnerships offer a start, but more can be done to support food as medicine

While an estimated 31 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage and 92 million are enrolled in Medicaid – sizeable consumer bases to which Instacart can help connect retailers – the current partnership with Alignment is limited to 13 counties in California and Neveda. But it is a start.

Beneficiaries enrolled in the participating plans who have a qualifying chronic condition will have access to $50 to $100 in quarterly grocery allowance through Instacart, a complementary Instacart+ membership with free delivery on orders more than $15, access to live customer support and a curated Alignment Health Virtual Storefront on Instacart to shop recommended items more easily.

The partnership with InComm Payments offers potentially broader reach as it will allow Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and other eligible program beneficiaries to use funds on their InComm Healthcare Dual Network Benefit Card to pay for eligible items from more than 68,000 retail locations in the OTC Network and online from Instacart’s more than 80,000 partner retail banner stores.

The new integration also allows seniors who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, to use their benefits to pay for qualifying items.

In August, Instacart became the first online grocery marketplace to accept SNAP nationwide​ at more than 120 retail banners and 10,000 stores, after piloting a program at seven Safeway locations in Alasaka.

[Editor’s note: Interested in learning more about how Instacart and other stakeholders are supporting increased access to nutritious food and expanding food as medicine programs? Please join FoodNavigator-USA this November for our free online Futureproofing the Food System Summit at which Instacart, The Rockefeller Foundation, American Heart Association and others will explore the opportunities and benefits of food as medicine. Explore the agenda and register HERE​.]


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