To address these needs, WellCare is providing low-income and special needs plan members in select WellCare, WellCare TexanPlus and 'Ohana Medicare Advantage plans with free, monthly Shipt memberships for the remainder of 2020. With this benefit, members can have groceries and essentials delivered from a number of retailers directly to their homes through their Shipt account, which not only helps them easily obtain the essentials they need, but also helps reduce possible exposure to the virus by eliminating their need to go to the grocery store. The benefit, which is subject to availability, is being offered to more than 200,000 members across 23 states.
"The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching, extending beyond medical care and affecting access to food, medicine, transportation, and more," said Michael Polen, Centene's Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Medicare Solutions. "We look forward to offering this new benefit as one more way to simplify access to everyday essentials, ensure continuity of care, and help our members stay safe and healthy during this challenging time."
"We're proud to partner with WellCare to fuse their commitment to meeting the health needs of vulnerable populations and our expertise in delivering groceries and essentials to those who need them," said Rina Hurst, Chief Business Strategy Officer, Shipt. "Especially in these challenging times, Shipt seeks to simplify lives and spark connections. We believe this first-of-its-kind partnership accomplishes just that while helping thousands of members get what they need quickly and safely."
Seniors and Food Insecurity, Transportation Issues
Each day, millions of seniors across the country go hungry. According to a study by Feeding America, nearly 8% of Americans age 60 and older were "food insecure" in 2017.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, WellCare's Community Connections Help Line, a toll-free, nationwide line available to anyone in need, has found increased demand for resources among seniors. The Help Line, which fielded more than 4,000 calls from Medicare members between March 1 and June 30, reports food assistance was the number-one most requested service (34%) accounting for more than one-third of all calls from this demographic. Medication assistance was the second most requested service (26%) followed by transportation (14%).
Shipt Ensures Safety and Convenience for Members and Employees
Shipt is available to more than 80% of U.S. households across 5,000 cities. The user-friendly app works with vetted, reliable Shipt Shoppers to ensure efficiency and user satisfaction.
During the pandemic, Shipt's top priority has been the health and safety of members and shoppers. As a result, Shipt has increased support staff, added more shoppers to help with high demand, and provides financial assistance and personal protective equipment to its shoppers.
To learn more, eligible WellCare members are encouraged to visit www.wellcare.com and log in to their member portal for instructions on how to take advantage of this benefit.
WellCare provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors, and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. WellCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information about WellCare, please visit www.wellcare.com.