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Independence expands its program with MANNA to deliver free, medically tailored meals to more of its Medicare Advantage members in 2020

MANNA food delivery driver pictured next to a truck with the MANNA logo

Philadelphia, PA — January 6, 2020 — In a continued effort to address the social and environmental conditions affecting seniors in southeastern Pennsylvania, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is expanding its program with MANNA to offer more of its Medicare Advantage members a free and nutritious meal delivery program.

The expanded program, which started on January 1, 2020, has fewer eligibility requirements than the pilot that was rolled out in 2019. It will be available to members recently discharged from the hospital who are enrolled in Keystone 65 Individual HMO plans and identified by case managers as having a combined diagnosis of congestive heart failure and diabetes. Members will no longer have to have end stage renal disease to qualify for the program.

If a member chooses to participate in the program, MANNA will start delivering free, medically tailored meals on a weekly basis for four weeks following the hospital stay. Each delivery provides complete nutrition – breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. The benefit can be used for up to two four-week periods in a given year if a member is readmitted to the hospital. MANNA will also offer free nutritional counseling to help members understand the importance of healthy eating.

“We are thrilled with the progress our program with MANNA has made over the past year on providing our Medicare Advantage members with serious illnesses the nourishment they need to get and stay well,” said Independence Medical Director Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., a geriatrician. “Expanding our relationship will make it possible for more members to benefit from this great program.”

Philadelphia-based MANNA delivers healthy meals and provides nutritional counseling to seriously ill people in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Independence and MANNA have worked together for a number of years on volunteer projects, but this is the first-time partnership on a health benefit for members.


Especially for people at acute nutritional risk due to life-threatening illnesses, MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life. A small professional staff and 6,500 dedicated volunteers bring more than 95,000 nutritious, home-delivered meals each month to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. MANNA dietitians promote wellness through nutrition education and counseling. Through these services, MANNA provides opportunities for caring people to extend loving support to families, friends, and neighbors. MANNA is spelled in all capital letters.

Media Contact:
Diana Quattrone
215-241-3113 (office) | 215-815-7828 (cell)