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Benefits Breakdown: What is the $900 Medicare Grocery Benefit?

Benefits Breakdown: What is the $900 Medicare Grocery Benefit?

Posted on May 25, 2022 by Larry Johnson

Are you curious about the Medicare grocery benefit? Our experienced, licensed agents can help with answers to questions you may have about this vital benefit. Give us a call at (800) 950-0608 today to learn more.

Wait, is There Actually Such a Thing as Free Groceries for Seniors on Medicare?

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, the odds are good that there are a host of healthy benefits you haven’t taken advantage of. Most of the time, it’s because you have no idea that these healthy benefits exist. In some cases, you may not have heard of these healthy benefits because you’re enrolled solely in Original Medicare.

This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of the grocery benefit for Medicare beneficiaries. That’s a huge part of the reason why you may be in need of a Benefits Breakdown! In this series, we’ll be detailing some of the supplemental benefits that you may be able to take advantage of if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. But what are the eligibility requirements for this new benefit?

Today, we’re going to focus on the grocery benefit Medicare offers for those enrolled in a Part C plan.

Elderly woman happily receiving groceries

The Medicare Grocery Card: How Does the Medicare Food Benefit Work?

Being able to afford high-quality, healthy food on a fixed benefit is a major issue for a huge portion of the American senior population, and many seniors with Original Medicare are likely missing out as a result of their limited Medicare contract. To address this issue, many providers are making high-quality food available for seniors on Medicare. 

Participating providers send qualifying seniors a Medicare flex card for food. This card is often known by a few different names, including:

  • Medicare food card
  • Medicare grocery card
  • Healthy Foods card
  • Grocery Plus

The Medicare grocery plus card provides you with a monthly or quarterly allowance, depending on your provider, which you can then spend on purchasing healthy groceries from participating retailers. Some providers allow you to place orders online for delivery of groceries to your home*. To learn whether or not you qualify for Medicare food delivery as part of your Medicare food benefit, be sure to check with your Medicare Advantage provider. 

*Some providers or stores have a minimum order limit amount per delivery. These limits can be upwards to $35 for a minimum order, depending on your provider.

How Do I Qualify for the Medicare Grocery Plus Benefit?

For most providers, all you’ll need to do in order to qualify for the grocery benefit is enroll in a plan that provides these supplemental benefits. For some others, you’ll also need to have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition in order to qualify. Some of the chronic health conditions that qualify for eligibility for this grocery benefit with certain providers include:

  • Certain cardiovascular disorders, including, but not limited to:
    • Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)
    • Coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries)
    • Chronic venous thromboembolic disorder (blood clots in the legs)
    • Chronic heart failure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Certain autoimmune disorders, including, but not limited to:
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis
  • Cancer
  • Certain mental health disorders
  • Cognitive issues, such as dementia
  • History of strokes
  • Prediabetes

Are There Any Other Limitations to the Grocery Benefit Medicare Food Card?

There are certain limits to the grocery benefit. One limitation is that you cannot buy just any type of food with your Medicare healthy foods card. Your choices are limited to certain healthy foods that are approved for purchase by your insurance provider.

You are also limited to using your new benefit only at certain grocery stores approved by your insurance provider. While this food card is redeemable at most grocers, you may find some stores who may not accept it. 

Finally, you’ll also find that your balance does not carry from month to month, or to a new benefit period. Your unused allowance will simply disappear, leaving you with just the benefit period’s new balance to use for groceries.

image of healthy groceries in shopping cart

How Do I Apply for the Medicare Healthy Foods Card?

You’ll find that choosing a Medicare Advantage plan that provides provisions for free groceries for seniors on Medicare can help you save big on monthly expenses. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that allows you to take advantage of this grocery benefit, you’re doing yourself a major disservice by not applying for it.

In order to apply for the grocery benefit, you’ll need to contact your carrier to first make sure that you’re eligible. Remember, some providers require you to have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition in order to receive these supplemental benefits. Some others may require you to be enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

If you qualify, your provider will help you apply. Before long, you’ll be saving plenty of money while picking up healthy, nourishing foods on your next trip to the grocery store!

Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.

About the Author

Larry Johnson

Larry is a content writer with several years of experience in creating informative content for a variety of industries on topics that matter. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Comments (18)

Priscilla Walker

Thank you for your honest help in informing me about the Medicare Advantage Plan offer of the $900.00 Grocery Benefit. I have yet to find a health provider for Medicare Advantage Plan that offers this Grocery Benefit. I have only discovered those health providers that say you must have dual Medicare-Medicaid eligibility. Please inform me of s health provider that does offer the Grocery Benefit in the Medicare Advantage Plan if you can. Thank you again for your articles. Your honest writing is so important to the Elderly Senior looking for every day benefits in the Medicare Advantage Plan.

George Martin

Hi Priscilla! Thanks for the comment! So happy we could help! You can get more information on plans in your area that may include this benefit by speaking directly to one of our licensed insurance agents by phone at (800) 950-0608. There is no charge to you and no obligation to enroll.

Marvin Schwartz

I noticed you didn’t respond to Priscilla’s request, “Please inform me of a health provider that does offer the Grocery Benefit in the Medicare Advantage Plan if you can.”
I also would be interested in that. Thanks.

George Martin

Thanks for pointing that out Marvin, we must have missed that. We’ve updated our response to that comment and we’ll be happy to help you with the same question. All you have to do is give us a call at (800) 950-0608 for information that is tailored specifically to your location and needs. There is no obligation to enroll, but calling is the best way to learn more about this benefit.

Barry Payne

I am look or I should say that everybody I have spoke to today said the same thing about having both Medicare and medicaid to receive the food allowance. But all over the internet it states that if anybody with Medicare plan A and B , then you are eligible for the food allowance. If anybody know the correct answer I would appreciate it .thank you.bp

George Martin

Hi Barry! Thanks for the comment! If you have questions or need help, feel free to give us a call at (800) 950-0608. That is specifically what we are here for. There is no obligation to enroll, and one of our licensed agents can walk you through the ins and outs of this benefit in greater detail.

John Burkhart

I was wondering if I am eligible for the grocery benefit

George Martin

Hi John! Thanks for the comment! If you’d like to speak with one of our experts for more information on eligibility, feel free to give us a call today at (800) 950-0608. There is no charge to you and no obligation to enroll.

Lizzie Gordon

This information answer major questions for me, thanks for sharing.

George Martin

You are very welcome Lizzie! And thank you for the kind words!

Frank Pace

This article was helpful and I appreciate it. But I would have also appreciated a better breakdown on what foods are allowed.

George Martin

Hi Frank! Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, there is so much information, we couldn’t fit it all in one article. If you’d like to speak with one of our experts to learn more about what foods are allowed, feel free to give us a call today at (800)-950-0608. There is no charge to you and no obligation to enroll.

Phillip A Baugus

How do I enroll

George Martin

Hi Phillip!

If you have questions about enrolling in Medicare or need help learning about your eligibility, feel free to give us a call at (800) 950-0608. That is specifically what we are here for. There is no obligation to enroll, and one of our licensed agents can walk you through the ins and outs of the various Medicare options that are available to you.

tonya taylor

Im 56 yrs old,had heart failure and taking dialysis 3 times a week, can I sign up for this?

George Martin

Hello Tonya, thanks for the comment. If you’d like to learn more about your eligibility for this benefit, feel free to give us a call at (800) 950-0608. That is specifically what we are here for. There is no obligation to enroll, and one of our licensed agents can walk you through the ins and outs of the various Medicare options that are available to you.

Florence Smith

#1 I would like to know if changing the Medicare Advantage Plan I have now — to your plan — also changes my insurance man and deletes him of whatever commission he gets with the plan I now have — which does not include groceries but does give you $60 every 3 months in medical equipment.
#2 I think that without calling the number you give that you should actually say in your ad what the terms are for getting money for groceries.
#3 I would like to know how much money is taken out of the Social Security check each month for your insurance plans.
#4 What is the cut off date to change Advantage insurance plans. Shall wait for an honest answer to my question without any jargon. Thank you

George Martin

Hi Florence!

Thanks for the comment. We certainly understand where you are coming from, but the reason we ask readers to call our number is because the answer to many of your questions (and others like them) are very dependent on a number of factors, and may be far too complex to cover in a single comment reply or article.

If you call our licensed agents, they will almost certainly be able to answer all of your questions to the best possible degree, no matter how long it takes!

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