Louisville-based Humana is teaming with retail giant Wal-Mart as part of a new program aiming to encourage people to purchase healthy foods by offering a 5 percent discount.
The companies announced last week that beginning Oct. 15, members of HumanaVitality, a subsidiary of the health care company, will be eligible for discounts on healthy food purchased from Wal-Mart locations.
"The Vitality HealthyFood program with Wal-Mart represents a new way we can decrease America's health care bill," said Joe Woods, CEO of HumanaVitality, in a statement. "In a recent survey of our members, 84 percent said that a savings program would motivate them to purchase healthier foods."
The program requires membership in HumanaVitality, which encourages people to live healthier lives through rewards programs. Any Humana member working for an employer with a fully-insured Humana health plan or who has a HumanaOne individual plan has access to HumanaVitality. Self-insured employers have the option to purchase HumanaVitality for their employees upon plan renewal.
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To take part in the Vitality HealthyFood program, members must visit HumanaVitality.com and take a brief health assessment. Afterwards, they will receive a card to be used when shopping at Wal-Mart. All products designated with Wal-Mart's "Great for You" icon are eligible for the 5 percent savings, which are loaded as credits on to the person's Vitality HealthyFood card within five days of the shopping trip. The credits are then available for use on the person's next shopping trip.
The "Great for You" icon is on products in Wal-Mart's produce sections and beginning this fall will also appear on packaged "Great Value" and "Marketside" products, according to a statement.
The Vitality HealthyFood Program will be available at all Wal-Mart stores. Humana encourages those interested to check with their employers to verify its enrollment status in Humana Vitality.
In announcing the partnership, the companies noted the cost of healthy food has traditionally been a deterrent for families on budgets. The companies cited a study released late last year by researcher APCO Insight that suggested one in four families skip purchases of healthy foods often or always because of price.
"By offering affordable, healthier foods, we will help make our customers healthier and reduce costs to our health care system as a whole," Dr. John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness for Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, said in a statement. "This represents preventative care in its purest form."