|By PR Newswire||
|August 22, 2013 06:30 PM EDT||
BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Independent Health, located in Buffalo, N.Y., is the first health plan in New York State to introduce a nutrition benefit as part of its health coverage that provides members with the opportunity to receive money-back rewards for buying fresh fruits and vegetables. The benefit will be available beginning January 1, 2014.
Details on the nutrition benefit:
- Members will earn $1 credit for in-store grocery purchases for every $2 spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at Tops Friendly Market Stores across Western New York.
- Members can earn up to $1,000 per family plan and up to $500 per single plan annually.
- The benefit rewards will be tracked through the Tops BonusPlus program.
- The benefit will be available on the majority of the new individual and small employer group products.
- It will be available as a rider on large employer group plans.
Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health, said the nutrition benefit is a unique product feature that seeks to improve the health and well-being of the community by making access to fresh fruits and vegetables affordable, and by keeping its members engaged and well informed about the benefits of proper nutrition and reduced risk factors.
"Diet and exercise are key contributors to wellness and good health," said Dr. Cropp. "Providing easier access to healthy eating and better nutrition is one of the many tools Independent Health offers our members to help them become more engaged in their health and develop sustainable fitness and lifestyle behaviors.
"As the first health plan in New York to cover gym memberships and offer financial incentives for personal health engagement, Independent Health continues to offer unique, innovative benefits to improve their health and the well-being of our community.
"We were also trailblazers in providing a $0 copay for preventive care in 2009 and a wide array of health and wellness efforts such as health coaches and educational programs to help combat chronic disease. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management are now Essential Health Benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," said Dr. Cropp.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, and protects against certain types of cancers. The Harvard School of Public Health says such a diet can also help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a mellowing effect on blood sugar, which in turn can help keep an individual's appetite in check.
Jennifer Kovalick, MS, RD, CDN, a nutritionist from Independent Health praised the effort. "Creating greater access to quality, affordable and healthy food consumption is a critical step in improving our population's health and wellness," Kovalick said.
For more information visit www.independenthealth.com.
SOURCE Independent Health