CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) InstituteSM today announced the debut of foodQ,SM a healthy food delivery service that brings nutritious, affordable meals directly to people living in areas that lack adequate access to fresh foods that make up a healthy diet, known as food deserts. Through the foodQ service, the companies will offer consumers easy access to affordable, nutritious foods to improve their health outcomes, particularly for diet-related, chronic conditions, while reducing avoidable emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
HCSC supported the BCBS Institute's development of foodQ through Affordability CuresSM, the company's commitment to develop long-term solutions that address the root causes of an expensive health care system, with investments in social determinants of health as one of the initial focus areas. The BCBS Institute will pilot foodQ in 25 Chicago ZIP codes and 15 Dallas ZIP codes where HCSC operates health plans. Any consumer living in these ZIP codes can participate, regardless of health insurance status or insurance carrier.
"Food deserts are one of the key social determinants of health impacting millions of Americans," said Manika Turnbull, vice president and community health and economic impact officer, HCSC. "With this program we are meeting people where they live to provide access, affordable pricing and education that can influence healthy behaviors, reduce health disparities and improve their quality of life."
"We know a ZIP code is just as important as a genetic code in determining a person's health – impacting medical needs and access to care," said Dr. Trent Haywood, president, BCBS Institute. "As a physician, I know I can easily write a prescription, but what I don't know is how am I going to make sure patients have access to healthy meals they can afford and want to eat. With the alarming rates of obesity and diabetes in our country, we need a different approach to supporting healthy living, and this pilot program can help remove the barriers that keep people from accessing healthy, affordable and nutritious foods."
Consumers residing in ZIP codes associated with the pilot service can go to the mobile-optimized foodQ website and review the ready-to-heat lunch and dinner meal options. Participants enter their ZIP code in the foodQ site, which determines if they are eligible for the service. Once eligibility is verified, participants enter their payment information, select their meal choice, then choose a date and time for meal delivery. Users select from five meal categories including beef, chicken, fish, pork and vegetarian options. Participants will then receive a text message confirming the order, as well as notifications when the order is on its way and has been delivered.
Participants are encouraged to subscribe to foodQ for $10 per month, which includes free delivery and a buy-one-get-one option for every meal purchased. Individuals that do not subscribe can choose to purchase individual meals for $10 with an additional delivery fee of $6 per order. Meal deliveries began in Chicago last week and start in Dallas in April.
HCSC and the BCBS Institute share a commitment to improve health outcomes and remove barriers to healthy living. The BCBS Institute created the mobile-optimized foodQ website, identified neighborhoods that qualified as food deserts and established relationships with Kitchfix in Chicago and Front Porch Pantry in Dallas to prepare and deliver meals. The BCBS Institute tailored foodQ to the community's needs using its detailed data by ZIP code on the social and environmental factors influencing health.
Throughout the six-month pilot, HCSC and the BCBS Institute will use participant surveys to measure the demand for and usability of the foodQ service and assess any correlation between nutritious meal consumption and avoidable hospital and emergency room visits.
The foodQ service is available in the following ZIP codes on the South Side and West Side of Chicago:
The foodQ service will be available in the following ZIP codes in South and East Dallas:
About Health Care Service Corporation Health Care Service Corporation is the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, with more than 16 million members in its health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit HCSC.com, visit our Facebook page or follow us at Twitter.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute The BCBS Institute, an Illinois benefit corporation, is a subsidiary and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. BCBS Institute and BCBSA do not provide medical, nutritional, or legal services or advice. foodQ is a trademark of BCBSA. All foodQ meal preparation and delivery services are provided by independent third-party providers. BCBS Institute, BCBSA and Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plans do not prepare or deliver meals, or promote, recommend, endorse, warrant or guarantee any program, product or service provided by any third-party provider in connection with foodQ. BCBS Institute, BCBSA and Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plans are not responsible for damages or injuries arising from or related to such third-party provided programs, products or services. Terms and conditions for foodQ are found at foodQhub.com.