Independence expands its program with MANNA to deliver free, medically tailored meals to more of its Medicare Advantage members in 2020

Philadelphia, PA — In a continued effort to address the social and environmental conditions affecting seniors in southeastern Pennsylvania, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is expanding its program with MANNA to offer more of its Medicare Advantage members a free and nutritious meal delivery program.

The expanded program, which started on January 1, 2020, has fewer eligibility requirements than the pilot that was rolled out in 2019. It will be available to members recently discharged from the hospital who are enrolled in Keystone 65 Individual HMO plans and identified by case managers as having a combined diagnosis of congestive heart failure and diabetes. Members will no longer have to have end stage renal disease to qualify for the program.

If a member chooses to participate in the program, MANNA will start delivering free, medically tailored meals on a weekly basis for four weeks following the hospital stay. Each delivery provides complete nutrition – breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. The benefit can be used for up to two four-week periods in a given year if a member is readmitted to the hospital. MANNA will also offer free nutritional counseling to help members understand the importance of healthy eating.

“We are thrilled with the progress our program with MANNA has made over the past year on providing our Medicare Advantage members with serious illnesses the nourishment they need to get and stay well,” said Independence Medical Director Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., a geriatrician. “Expanding our relationship will make it possible for more members to benefit from this great program.”

Philadelphia-based MANNA delivers healthy meals and provides nutritional counseling to seriously ill people in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Independence and MANNA have worked together for a number of years on volunteer projects, but this is the first-time partnership on a health benefit for members.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 8 million people nationwide. For more than 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneer new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and support programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit Connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Especially for people at acute nutritional risk due to life-threatening illnesses, MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life. A small professional staff and 6,500 dedicated volunteers bring more than 95,000 nutritious, home-delivered meals each month to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. MANNA dietitians promote wellness through nutrition education and counseling. Through these services, MANNA provides opportunities for caring people to extend loving support to families, friends, and neighbors. MANNA is spelled in all capital letters.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.