A vast majority of older Americans who are eligible for federal nutrition assistance programming remained unenrolled, placing them at increased risk of food insecurity and its associated adverse health conditions and healthcare costs. A research team led by Benefits Data Trust will study the health and economic effects of a novel health plan strategy to increase program enrollment. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan will access administrative data from Benefits Data Trust and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to determine which of their low-income Medicare members are eligible but not enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and proactively assist these members with enrollment. The team will use a randomized encouragement trial to determine the impact of this strategy on SNAP enrollment, health status, health care utilization and costs. Results will indicate whether there are strong clinical and economic reasons for the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid health plans to adopt programs that proactively assist their members with nutrition assistance enrollment.
- Suzanne Kinsky, MPH, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center