Inside Select Health's Medicare Advantage partnership with Kroger

Gone are the days when the grocery store was just for food — now it can provide your health insurance, too.

With the Medicare open enrollment period underway, older adults nationwide have the option to choose from Medicare Advantage plans adorned with the names of major grocers, including Meijer, Walmart and Kroger.

In parts of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah, Select Health, the nonprofit insurance arm of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health, has teamed up with Kroger Health to launch a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan that takes effect in 2024. 

"The main driver for us and other health insurers is trying to really solve health challenges for people," Jason Worthen, Select Health's vice president of government markets, told Becker's. "Medication and food access has become a major focus."

Mr. Worthen said the payer was approached by Kroger in late 2022 about a "potential new partnership." The grocery chain previously inked Medicare Advantage partnerships with Priority Health in Michigan and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

Starting next year, Select Health members with the new Kroger MA plan will receive benefits for over the counter products and savings on prescription medications. Enrollees with qualifying conditions will see monthly food allowances at Kroger ranging from $55 to $85, depending on the plan. Kroger also operates stores under the brands Smith's, King Soopers, City Market and Fred Meyer.

"We're finding innovative ways to connect with our members at the point they receive services in the community," Mr. Worthen said. "We expect that these products will be received well by the communities that we serve." 

In the first year, the plan is hoping to enroll 5,000 members, adding to Select Health's total membership of more than 1 million enrollees across four states.

Select Health recently achieved a 5-star MA rating from CMS for the third year in a row. In 2024, only 5.7% of MA plans, or 31 total, achieved a 5-star rating. 

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