What Changed To Allow Meal Delivery Service
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated its rules about Medicare Advantage coverage. It used to be that if you have Medicare coverage, you had to meet stricter requirements to get meal delivery. Under the new rules, Medicare Advantage plans may now offer benefits for services such as healthy meal delivery in some cases.
Under the new rules, Medicare Advantage plans may extend coverage for certain services that might:
- Prevent or treat illness or injury
- Reduce emergency medical care
- Help you make up for physical problems that reduce function
- Help with the psychological effects of illness or injuries
The service must be medically appropriate to your health condition, and recommended by your doctor.
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Additional Meal Delivery Options
In March 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services approved $250 million in grants for meal delivery services for qualifying adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
In addition, people who receive nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may be able to use SNAP to order groceries online as part of a pilot program that launched in 2019. This order can include prepared grocery store meals. A person can check whether the online purchasing pilot is available in their state.
Several other programs offer additional meal delivery services if someone needs assistance with meals:
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Coverage After An Inpatient Stay
If youre in the hospital and then discharged home, your Medicare Advantage plan may offer delivery for 10 meals. These meals can be specific to your dietary needs, such as gluten-free or vegetarian. Your plan might limit how many hospital stays qualify for meal delivery, but four stays is fairly standard.
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WHAT IS THE MEDICAID MEAL WAIVER?
The Medicaid waiver allows states to provide a collection of home services, including home-delivered meals. The Medicaid waiver is a State-Federal partnership that provides services to seniors and people with disabilities. The Federal government provides broad guidelines which allow each state to establish their own standard of eligibility and scope of services. The purpose of the waiver program is to provide a comprehensive array of services to citizens, with the goal of keeping them living independently at home, who would otherwise be in a hospital or care facility. Each eligible participant is guaranteed under the Medicaid provision of freedom of choice to specify the provider of their choice for the services they would prefer.
For assistance applying for the Medicaid meal waiver in your state contact at 1-866-735-0921 and press 9.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO RECEIVE HOME-DELIVERED MEALS?
Home-delivered meals are reimbursed through the Medicaid waiver program and thus are authorized by Medicaid. A Medicaid recipient must first contact their Medicaid agency or Medicaid representative and request a meal waiver application. Once the completed application is returned to Medicaid, a subsequent evaluation will be scheduled to determine eligibility. Each eligible participant is guaranteed under the Medicaid provision of freedom of choice to specify the provider of their choice for the services they would prefer.
WHAT ARE THE MEAL CHOICES?
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What Is Home Delivered Meals
HDM provides nutritious noontime meals delivered to people in their homes on a scheduled basis. Meals may also be delivered to a location other than an individual’s home, provided the location is within the provider’s service area and is approved by the case worker. Those eligible for HDM are aged 18 years or older. An interest list is maintained for people interested in applying for this program.
Things To Keep In Mind
All Medicare Advantage plans do not offer home-delivered meals. Home meal delivery is an optional supplemental service. This means that plans can choose whether or not they offer services such as home-delivered meals.
- Typically, only Medicare Advantage plans can offer home-delivered meal services.
- To qualify, you need to have a certain health condition or situation .
- Meal delivery services can be covered for a limited time.
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Medicare Coverage Of Meal Delivery Programs For Seniors
The program helps about 2,400,000 seniors across the country. Most of these seniors have Medicare health coverage. For the most part, Medicare does not cover meal delivery. Although, Part A does cover your meals while youre an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. There are some options for meal delivery on a temporary basis that will be covered by Medicare.
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When Do Medicare Advantage Plans Pay For Meal Delivery
Medicare Advantage coverage varies from one plan to the next, and plan selection varies from one area to another. Some plans may offer more extensive coverage of meal delivery than others, and some plans may not cover the service at all.
Plans that cover meal delivery may partner with Meals on Wheels or other third-party organizations that provide the service.
One type of meal delivery coverage you might find in a Medicare Advantage plan is for beneficiaries who have been discharged from an inpatient hospital or skilled nursing facility inpatient stay. Such a plan may cover a pre-determined number of meals to be delivered to your home while you are recovering from your hospital stay. The meals may be hot or frozen depending on the coverage and service available.
You may need to spend a minimum number of days at the hospital or skilled nursing facility to qualify for the coverage. The delivered meals may need to meet certain nutrition standards established by Medicare. Sometimes they meals can be customized to meet certain dietary restrictions like vegetarian or gluten-free.
Some Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans may be able to offer more extensive meal delivery coverage.
Special Needs Plans include a type of plan called a chronic-care special needs plan . These are Medicare Advantage plans that can be designed with certain chronic health conditions in mind, such as cancer or diabetes.
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Does Medicare Cover Meal Delivery Programs
For those who qualify, Medicare may organize with the staff to have nutritional meals brought right to your doorstep. Similarly, when returning home from a hospital stay, your healthcare provider may order delivery service for your meals. This order is good for up to four weeks.
People suffering from chronic conditions limiting their ability to feed themselves may qualify for up to 2 weeks of meal delivery services. If youre needing meal deliveries, contact your doctor directly to see if you qualify.
What Options Do I Have
Given that the original Medicare coverage – Parts A and B – does cover your food whilst at hospital but not in terms of meal delivery services, if you want this to be included you will need to opt for the Medicare Advantage plan in order to benefit.
By purchasing Medicare Advantage – Medicare Part C – you will get this through a private insurance company and then be able to benefit from additional coverage beyond what is offered in the original, so you could get more help when it comes to your vision, dental and hearing needs.
Depending on which Medicare Advantage plan you select, you could get meal delivery as one of your benefits. However, it’s important to note that this is not included in every plan. If you are specifically looking for this option, make sure if it is included in the plan before you select it.
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What Is A Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative way of getting your Part A and Part B benefits. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer other health benefits including vision care, eyeglasses, drug benefits, hearing care, and chiropractic services.
Now, you may be able to include additional support in your Medicare Advantage plan, such as home meal delivery.
Administration For Community Living
What it is: The Administration for Community Living acts as a clearinghouse and financial supporter of meal delivery services through the Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs. When you contact the ACL, they can help you find organizations in your community that offer meal deliveries.
Whats offered: Meal offerings may vary based on the provider.
Find out more: Visit the Eldercare Locator website. This resource helps you find meal delivery and other assistance programs in your area. To learn more, you can also call 800-677-1116.
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Meal Delivery Service And Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative way of getting your Part A and Part B benefits. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer other health-related benefits, like routine vision care and eyeglasses. Recent rule changes now let Medicare Advantage plans offer certain extra benefits, including such things as meal delivery services.
What Parts Arent Covered
There are some aspects of in-home care that are convenient and even sometimes necessary to help sustain certain lifestyles, but they arent all covered by Medicare. These services include:
- 24-hour skilled nursing care: If you or a loved one needs this, you may be better off in a skilled nursing home facility, which Medicare does cover.
- Meals delivered to your home: While there may be aides who help do this in your home, you will not be reimbursed for having meals brought to you because you cant leave the house.
- Custodial care when its the only service you need: Custodial care refers to any non-medical help you need, such as with bathing or getting dressed. However, this type of care could be included in your plan if your doctor deems that its necessary to improve your condition.
- Homemaker services: This includes activities such as shopping, cleaning, and laundry, as described by the Medicare website. This also could be covered if they are related to your home health plan prescribed by your doctor.
So now that we know what Medicare covers , lets discuss how you can qualify for in-home care.
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Medicaid Meal Delivery Companies
- Top-Rated Mom’s Meals– Mom’s Meals is a Medicaid waiver and Title III home-delivered meal provider in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Homestyle Direct– Homestyle Direct is licensed, and Medicaid approved in the following States: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and potentially Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 34 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on , check out our videos on and follow us on .
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.
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Benefits Of Meal Delivery Services For Seniors
Meal delivery services are a great choice for older adults for a variety of reasons.
Choosing a meal delivery service ensures that there will always be a balanced and filling meal option available, which is important for older adults who do not want to cook or cannot do so.
Signing up for a meal delivery service can also help improve calorie and nutrient intake and could help older adults with health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease manage their symptoms.
It also takes away the stress of grocery shopping, which can be difficult for older adults with certain health conditions or mobility issues.
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How Do I Get Meals On Wheels For My Mother/relative
Every local program has different rules about how to apply for Meals on Wheels, and who can apply. Contact your local programs office to learn about specific requirements.
Some Meals on Wheels programs can cost about $7 per meal, but they accept contributions based on what the recipient can afford.
Even though your loved ones local Meals on Wheels program may operate on a sliding payment scale or accept SNAP, a Medicare Advantage plan with meal delivery may be the best option for your relative to get vital nutrients after a hospital stay. You can only make Medicare decisions on your relatives behalf if you have durable power of attorney .
Agents cannot legally discuss your loved ones protected health information without durable POA. Talk to your agent about your loved ones needs. Your agent can help you determine if a Medicare Advantage plan with meal delivery is right for your relative.
What Is A Typical Meals On Wheels Menu
Many Meals on Wheels programs provide one meal per day that meets of the Food and Drug Administrations recommended daily nutritional value. Meals may contain a protein, a starch, a vegetable, and a dessert.
- Protein: Barbecue pork
- Vegetable: Spinach salad with French dressing
- Dessert: Banana bread
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Does Medicare Advantage Cover Meal Delivery
Private insurance companies provide Medicare Advantage plans, which offer additional benefits above those that original Medicare provides. These benefits differ among plans.
Most plans offer either a fixed number of meals or meals for a set temporary period after someone leaves the hospital or SNF.
Some individuals with chronic medical conditions may also be eligible for meal benefits. These are usually available through a special Medicare Advantage plan called a Special Needs Plan . Examples of SNP-related conditions include congestive heart failure, diabetes, and end stage renal disease.
An update by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2020 may make it possible for some people with chronic conditions to access even more meal benefits through Medicare Advantage.
People can contact their insurance provider to find out whether their Medicare Advantage plan offers meal delivery services, including the supplemental meal benefits, and how to arrange meal deliveries.
What Is Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies and cover everything that is covered by Original Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans may offer some additional coverage for extra benefits not covered by Original Medicare.
Prescription drug coverage, dental care, vision care and hearing benefits may be offered by many Medicare Advantage plans. Some plans may also cover things like transportation, meal delivery, over the counter health items and membership to fitness and wellness programs.
In fact, 55% of Medicare Advantage plans included a meal benefit in 2021.
Is Meals On Wheels Covered By Medicare
Original Medicare does not cover Meals on Wheels or any other home meal delivery service. However, certain private insurance plans called Medicare Advantage plans can offer meal delivery services if you meet certain qualifications.