Food-as-medicine platform Season Health announced Wednesday that it is partnering with marketplace HealthAlign to provide nutrition benefits to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
Austin, Texas-based Season Health’s solution serves people with chronic conditions and provides clinical nutrition care, meal recommendations, education and food delivery. It has raised over $37 million in venture capital funding. HealthAlign, also based in Austin, is an aging-in-place marketplace, meaning it is used by payers to provide in-home service benefits. It is a subsidiary of The Helper Bees, a home health company, and serves all 50 states.
Through the partnership, food and meals will be offered as a service on HealthAlign’s marketplace. Season Health will provide those services to about 5,500 members a month of “three out of the six largest Medicare Advantage plans,” which work with HealthAlign, according to a news release. Josh Hix, co-founder and CEO of Season, declined to name the health plans, however.
Season Health has three offerings for members: shelf-stable pantry boxes, which include items like canned soups, vegetables and cereals; grocery errands, where members can order fresh and frozen foods as well as home supplies; and a food-as-medicine bundle, which includes all of the services offered on Season Health’s platform and is intended for those with chronic disease. For the latter, the member would engage with a Season dietitian and could order food and pre-made meals on the platform, as well as receive ongoing support, Hix said.
“Making healthy food available to everybody is the starting point to everything surrounding food-as-medicine,” he said in an interview. “So for all members, they’ve got the pantry box and the grocery errand. For those living with chronic disease, they can get this food-as-medicine bundle.”
Season chose to work with HealthAlign because of its connections with payers, which gives the food company the ability to reach more people, Hix said. He’s also looking to improve clinical outcomes, such as achieving a 1.3 point reduction in A1C levels for members with diabetes.
“The clinical goals are the same as always: help people with chronic disease manage or reverse that chronic disease,” Hix said. “The business goals are scale and reach … Through the partnership with HealthAlign, we are partnered with these very large plans, which serves to drive the volume we can reach and help a large number of members. Through that, we can continue to build the evidence base that these are important benefits.”
HealthAlign, meanwhile, hopes to ease the process for payers in providing nutrition benefits, said Andy Friedell, founder and CEO of HealthAlign. Payers could save $13.6 billion annually by covering medically-tailored meals, a recent study in JAMA Network Open showed.
“Our ultimate goal is to connect older adults with nutrition support through the Season Health platform, circumventing many of the key pain points that plans encounter in implementing meal and nutrition benefits, and supporting increased opportunities for patients with chronic conditions to live well,” he said in an email.
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