When COVID-19 first swarmed the United States, one health insurer called some customers with a question: Do you have enough to eat?
Oscar Health wanted to know if people had adequate food for the next couple weeks and how they planned to stay stocked up while hunkering down at home.
“We’ve seen time and again, the lack of good and nutritional food causes members to get readmitted” to hospitals, Oscar executive Ananth Lalithakumar said.
Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor’s office. More plans are paying for temporary meal deliveries and some are teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods.
Benefits experts say insurers and policymakers are growing used to treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay