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 and the UPMC Center for High-Value Healthcare will study the health and economic effects of a novel health plan strategy to increase benefit program enrollment. Using enrollment data from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the UPMC Health Plan and Benefits Data Trust will determine which of their low-income dual eligible (enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid) members are eligible but not enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and proactively assist these members with enrollment. By matching this enrollment data with UPMC claims data, the team will use a randomized controlled trial to determine the impact of SNAP enrollment on 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, Director of Research Translation and Capacity Building at the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care
- Jamila McLean, MPH, Healthcare Policy Manager at Benefits Data Trust
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