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Independence partners with MANNA to deliver free meals to Medicare Advantage members

A MANNA client receives a food delivery at her doorstep.

Philadelphia, PA — March 13, 2019 — In an effort to address the social and environmental conditions affecting seniors in southeastern Pennsylvania, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) has partnered with MANNA to offer Medicare Advantage members with certain chronic conditions who have recently been discharged from a hospital, a free and nutritious meal delivery program for four weeks following discharge from the hospital. This is the first time MANNA has partnered with a Medicare Advantage plan that offers meals as part of a benefits package.

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 they will be partnering on a health benefit for members.

“We are excited about this partnership and think it will help improve health outcomes, reduce hospitalizations, and educate members on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits,” said Independence Medical Director Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., a geriatrician. “Thanks to our partnership with MANNA, we are able to provide a lifeline to people who otherwise could not get the nutrients they need to get and stay well.”

The program, which began on January 1, is initially targeting Medicare Advantage members who are enrolled in Keystone 65 Individual HMO plans and have been recently discharged from the hospital and identified by case managers as having a combined diagnosis of congestive heart failure, diabetes, and late-state chronic kidney disease. If a member chooses to participate in the program, MANNA will start delivering 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 healthy eating.

“MANNA is proud to be partnering with Independence Blue Cross, a healthcare leader here in Philadelphia, and grateful that Independence recognizes and supports the vital role of food as medicine in treatment,” says MANNA Chief Executive Officer Sue Daugherty, RD, LDN.


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.