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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 a Medicare Grocery Benefit?

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

This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of the Medicare grocery benefit. 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 extra benefits that you may be able to take advantage of if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Today, we’re going to focus on the grocery benefit Medicare offers for those enrolled in a Part C plan.

How Does the Medicare Grocery 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. As a result, many providers are making high-quality food available for seniors on Medicare. This initiative is known as the Medicare grocery benefit.

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 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 Benefit?

For most providers, all you’ll need to do in order to qualify for the Medicare grocery benefit is enroll in a plan that provides the benefit. 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 the Medicare 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?

There are certain limits to the Medicare grocery benefit. One limitation is that you cannot buy just any type of food with your Medicare grocery 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 benefits at certain grocery stores approved by your insurance provider. While the Medicare 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.

How Do I Apply for the Medicare Grocery Benefit?

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 the Medicare grocery benefit, you’re doing yourself a major disservice by not applying for it.

In order to apply for the Medicare 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 the benefit. 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 grocery trips!

Wondering if you’re eligible to receive the Medicare grocery benefit? Our licensed agents may be able to help you find the answer. Give us a call today at (800) 950-0608.

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.

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