Individuals older than 65 with diabetes as well as food insecurity reported a boost in their health and quality of life after taking part in a pilot program by Mom’s Meals, a leading provider of medically tailored, home-delivered meals, and Humana Inc. as part of its effort to address members’ health-related social needs.

Mom’s Meals provides fully prepared, refrigerated meals across the nation and serves the Medicaid, Medicare and individual markets. 

By the close of the year-long pilot program, some 86% of the participants, all Humana Medicare Advantage members, agreed that having diabetes-friendly meals delivered to their homes was essential to their overall well-being, according to results released today. 

Additional program findings will be shared June 22-24 at the 2021 AHIP Institute & Expo Online. The initiative was also part of Humana’s Bold Goal, which seeks to improve the health of the communities it serves.

As part of the pilot program, 367 enrollees with diabetes who also screened positive for food insecurity received 14 diabetes-friendly meals at home during the fourth week of each month for 12 months, during all of the year 2020. The last week of the month was selected because people with food insecurity may have more limited resources during that time, sometimes resulting in choices that may negatively impact health, such as skipping meals. 

Further, research shows that hypoglycemic episodes leading to emergency department visits and inpatient hospitalizations increase in the fourth week of the month for individuals with low incomes and that addressing this monthly cycle could result in better outcomes and lower health care costs. 

“By preventing both high and low blood glucose in people with diabetes, we can prevent repeat hospitalizations, improve members’ health outcomes and reduce the cost of care,” said Catherine Macpherson, Vice President of Product Strategy and Development and Chief Nutrition Officer for Mom’s Meals. “Providing medically appropriate meals to those who need them is feasible and creates positive clinical results, including improvements in both physical and mental health.” 

“The Humana Bold Goal strategy is focused on measurably improving the health of the members and communities we serve by addressing social determinants of health and health-related social needs,” said Jennifer Spear, Population Health Strategy Lead at Humana. “The research-intensive design for this pilot translated to a successful and sustainable program that allowed for the support of vulnerable members year-round.”