Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits

If you have an Aetna Medicare plan, you might be entitled to a grocery allowance that helps you purchase healthy foods. Our article details the specifics: from eligibility criteria to the simple steps for using your allowance at participating retailers.

 

Key Takeaways

 

  • Eligibility for the grocery allowance is based on enrollment in specific Aetna Medicare plans and is targeted at those with qualifying health conditions such as arthritis, COPD, and heart failure.

 

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Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance: What You Need to Know

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance: What You Need to Know

 

Aetna’s Medicare Grocery Allowance is a health care benefit available to eligible members, providing them with the opportunity to purchase healthy food items at approved retailers or online. This ranges from fruits and vegetables to whole grains and lean proteins.

The Medicare Grocery Benefit, which includes Medicaid benefits and prescription drug coverage, can also be used for over-the-counter medication and certain management support services at authorized retailers.

 

The Importance of Healthy Eating for Seniors

For seniors, adhering to a healthy diet is of utmost importance. The American Dietetic Association encourages seniors to prioritize nutrient-rich foods such as:

  • seafood

 

  • dairy

 

  • beans, peas, lentils

 

  • fruits and vegetables

 

These foods help preserve muscle mass and improve overall health.

 

How the Grocery Allowance Works

Aetna’s Grocery Allowance works via a prepaid Medicare Food Allowance card, providing a set monthly amount, averaging $150 in 2023, to buy qualifying food products.

This allowance can lead to significant cost savings, support during periods of high inflation, and cater to specific nutritional requirements.

You can use your Aetna Healthy Food Card at retail outlets like CVS, Walmart, and Kroger and for online purchases at platforms such as walmart.com.

You can oversee your card usage by accessing the member portal to review your current balance, monitor past transactions, and identify eligible items.

 

Eligibility for Aetna’s Medicare Grocery Allowance

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Eligibility for Aetna's Medicare Grocery Allowance

 

Eligibility for Aetna’s Medicare Grocery Allowance requires meeting certain health condition qualifications and enrollment in a specific Aetna Medicare plan offering this benefit.

 

Qualifying Health Conditions

The health conditions that qualify for Aetna’s Medicare Grocery Allowance include:

  • Autoimmune disorders

 

  • Arthritis

 

  • Cancer

 

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

 

  • Congestive heart failure

 

  • Mental health conditions, as determined by a primary care provider.

 

Aetna Plan Types with Grocery Allowance

Aetna Medicare plans that offer the grocery allowance benefit include the Aetna Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) and other Aetna plans that provide an Extra Benefits Card for purchasing approved healthy foods and prescription drugs.

The integration of this benefit into their plans offers members considerable cost savings at the point of purchase while addressing specific nutritional needs, as advised by health care providers.

Aetna’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) also includes grocery benefits. Members are provided with a benefit amount through the Extra Benefits Card for monthly spending and a quarterly allowance for qualifying food items.

Using Your Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Using Your Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance

 

The first step to utilizing your Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance is confirming the activation of your card.

Once activated, you can use your grocery allowance at checkout by swiping it like a regular debit card or presenting it to the cashier for scanning if it’s a coupon card.

 

Activating Your Allowance Card

Activating your Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance card is simple. Either contact the Member Experience Advisor at 1-877-204-1817 (TTY: 711) or use the online activation portal at Aetna.NationsBenefits.com/Activate.

If you encounter any issues during the activation process, you can retry the activation online or seek assistance by contacting Extra Benefits Card Member Services.

 

Finding Participating Retailers

Your Aetna Medicare grocery allowance card can be used at numerous grocery stores and pharmacies nationwide, including:

  • Albertsons

 

  • Giant Eagle

 

  • Kroger

 

  • Schnucks

 

  • Walmart

 

  • CVS Pharmacy

 

  • Walgreens

 

  • Rite Aid

 

  • Family Dollar

 

  • Dollar General

 

  • Food Lion

 

You can identify authorized stores and health and wellness products through the NationsBenefits mobile app or Aetna.NationsBenefits.com.

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Maximizing Your Aetna Grocery Allowance

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Maximizing Your Aetna Grocery Allowance

 

To maximize your Aetna Grocery Allowance, begin by meticulously selecting a Medicare Advantage plan that incorporates this benefit and utilizes the monthly allowance to purchase healthy essentials like meat, fruits, and dairy.

 

Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas

Economical meal options for seniors include:

  • Healthy breakfast egg muffins

 

  • Steel-cut oats with fresh and/or dried fruit

 

  • Sausage & veggie skillet

 

  • Chicken spinach mushroom flatbread

 

  • Beef recipes

 

These meal ideas, featuring healthy grains, are both nutritious and cost-effective, helping you stretch your grocery allowance and manage your everyday expenses.

 

Staying Organized with Meal Planning

Meal planning is another strategy for maximizing your Aetna grocery allowance. By planning meals in advance, reviewing healthy eating guidelines, choosing versatile foods, and always being prepared with a list, you can make the most of your allowance.

Aetna also provides food delivery services and other tools to aid in meal planning, and seniors with dietary restrictions can leverage Aetna’s grocery allowance to procure approved healthy foods to meet their dietary needs.

Aetna’s Online Shopping and Home Delivery Options

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Aetna's Online Shopping and Home Delivery Options

 

The online shopping and home delivery options offered by Aetna simplify the usage of your grocery allowance. You can visit Aetna.NationsBenefits.com and log in to purchase approved food products or call 1-877-204-1817 for assistance.

Orders can be delivered within two days a week, 7 days a week, whether placed online or by phone.

 

Ordering from Aetna.NationsBenefits.com

To order from Aetna.NationsBenefits.com, follow these steps:

  • Access your secure online account on the website.

 

  • After logging in, select the ‘Healthy Food’ option to browse through eligible items.

 

  • At checkout, utilize the ‘Aetna Healthy’ payment option.

 

  • The website offers a range of dietary-specific options to cater to your nutritional needs.

 

Setting Up Home Delivery

To set up home delivery, follow these steps:

  • Activate your card by calling 1-877-204-1817.

 

  • Order groceries through your personal Aetna member website.

 

  • Visit an approved grocery delivery website and select ‘Aetna Healthy Food card’ as the payment method.

 

Aetna Medicare provides home delivery for groceries in various areas. You can verify the availability in your specific area during the registration process or by contacting Aetna directly.

Additional Health and Wellness Benefits for Aetna Members

In addition to the grocery allowance, Aetna members can take advantage of further health and wellness benefits, including the hearing aid benefit.

One of these is hearing aid coverage, with most plans providing coverage for two hearing aids every year, with up to $2,500 in coverage for each ear.

 

Hearing Aid Coverage

Aetna’s hearing aid coverage includes:

  • One annual routine hearing exam and fitting

 

  • Hearing aids replaced every year

 

  • Two primary types of hearing aids: in the ear (ITE) and behind the ear (BTE)

 

Dental Benefits

Aetna’s Medicare plan also offers comprehensive coverage for preventive dental services, encompassing cleanings, oral exams, and X-rays, with 100 percent coverage on most plans.

The coverage may include a variety of dental procedures, providing a significant dental benefit, such as oral exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, root canals, extractions, dentures, crowns, bridges, and implants.

 

Disease State Management Programs

Aetna provides a disease state management program that offers personalized care and support to individuals with chronic conditions.

These programs, led by the Aetna care team, help individuals understand their condition and adhere to their doctor’s treatment plan. They offer tailored support and guidance for prevalent conditions such as:

  • Heart failure

 

  • Asthma

 

  • Stroke

 

  • Diabetes

Resources for Seniors Seeking Additional Food Assistance

 

Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance Benefits, Resources for Seniors Seeking Additional Food Assistance

 

 

Programs like Meals on Wheels and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serve as valuable resources for seniors requiring extra food assistance.

 

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to senior citizens. To be eligible for the program, the senior must:

  • Be 60 years of age or older

 

  • Reside within the designated service area

 

  • Have limited mobility

 

  • Be mostly home bound.

 

The program provides nutritious meals, conducts quick safety checks, and offers much-needed human connection to home bound seniors.

 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government initiative designed to offer financial assistance to low-income older adults, enabling them to purchase essential groceries.

To apply, seniors must submit a formal application through their state SNAP agency or local SNAP office. Once approved, they can use SNAP to buy food at nearby markets.

Summary

Navigating healthcare benefits can be daunting, but programs like Aetna’s Medicare Grocery Allowance make it easier.

By providing financial support for healthy food purchases, assisting in meal planning, offering online shopping and home delivery options, and providing additional health and wellness benefits, Aetna is committed to supporting the health and wellness of its senior members.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

→  Does Aetna Medicare offer food benefits?

Yes, Aetna Medicare offers food benefits through its Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans, which provide an Aetna Medicare Extra Benefits Card to help pay for everyday expenses like healthy foods and over-the-counter health products.

 

  What foods can I buy with my Aetna healthy foods card?

You can use your Aetna healthy foods card to buy fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, pantry staples, healthy grains like flour, spices, bread, and pasta. Remember to select credit when using the card.

 

→  Is the Medicare grocery allowance real?

Yes, the Medicare grocery allowance is real, but it is only offered to qualifying individuals as part of select Medicare Advantage plans. It is not provided by Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement plans.

 

  What is the Aetna Flex card for seniors?

The Aetna Flex card is a prepaid debit card that can be used for extra Dental, Vision, and Hearing services for seniors.

 

 How do I activate my Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance card?

To activate your Aetna Medicare Grocery Allowance card, contact the Member Experience Advisor on 1-877-204-1817 or use the online activation portal at Aetna.NationsBenefits.com/Activate.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.