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Food June 30, 2021

Medicare Advantage plans can improve access to fruits and vegetables for Medicare beneficiaries.

Produce prescriptions are a nutrition intervention that target food insecurity and improve health outcomes. These innovative nutrition services lower financial barriers to food access and simultaneously encourage consumption of fresh produce. In addition to addressing household food insecurity, produce prescriptions have led to clinically significant reductions in indicators such as hemoglobin A1c and blood pressure. Their broader effects are manifold. Produce prescriptions reinforce health educational initiatives, bolster patient-provider relationships, and stimulate local business.

Medicare Advantage offers plans opportunities to cover the cost of produce prescriptions.The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation’s new issue brief analyzes recent changes to Medicare policy with a specific eye on coverage for produce prescriptions. Through the analysis, CHLPI highlights how supplemental benefit pathways can be leveraged to improve access to fruits and vegetables.

Produce Prescriptions as a Novel Supplemental Benefit in Medicare Advantage was developed by CHLPI’s Health Law Lab, which examines the legal, regulatory, and policy implications of integrating social determinant of health interventions into health care delivery and financing. This brief also builds on CHLPI’s work over the past year to identify policy strategies to Mainstream Produce Prescriptions.