Cigna Healthcare Invests $1 Million to Tackle Food Insecurity Among Older Americans

Cigna Healthcare Invests $1 Million to Tackle Food Insecurity Among Older Americans
© Ravi Patel

This fall, Cigna Healthcare, a health benefits provider under The Cigna Group (NYSE: CI), is committed to investing $1 million in national and community-based organizations. The goal is to tackle food insecurity among older Americans by providing more than 3 million meals to those in need. Additionally, the funds will increase access to 1.88 million pounds of fresh produce and contribute to responsible food distribution, leading to a positive impact on the environment. This effort is expected to save 21 million gallons of water and 2.89 tons of CO2e emissions while promoting better health.

“Too many people in our country, including older adults, face challenges with food insecurity, which can lead to worsening health and vitality,” said J.B. Sobel, M.D., chief medical officer for Cigna Healthcare’s Medicare business. “Older adults are more likely to have various health conditions requiring specific diets to maintain and improve their health. Regular, reliable, healthy food can improve the health and vitality of those we serve, and we are committed to giving each person the opportunity to live well.”

Across 12 different states, 56 innovative programs have been awarded critical financial support to help seniors facing food insecurity. These programs are run by a variety of organizations ranging from local Meals on Wheels chapters and food banks to senior- and veteran-focused coalitions and centers. The funding provided will go towards various food- and nutrition-based programs, including food pantries, mobile food deliveries, and nutritional meal boxes.

In addition, Cigna Healthcare has become the first health benefits provider to sponsor The Farmlink Project. This nonprofit organization connects farms with surplus harvest to communities throughout the United States, making nutritious food more accessible to those in need. By sponsoring this initiative, Cigna is helping to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food options.

“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Cigna Healthcare to rescue millions of meals this season,” said Aidan Reilly, co-founder and head of partnerships at The Farmlink Project. “Access to fresh and healthy food is vital for anyone to reach their healthiest, fullest potential, yet millions of Americans struggle with food insecurity each year. Through this partnership, we will be able to provide access to fresh produce to families across the country throughout the fall and holiday seasons, a time when it is needed most.”

In the United States, approximately one in 14 seniors struggle with hunger while six in 10 Americans have at least one chronic disease, often worsened by unhealthy eating habits. These diet-related health issues contribute to almost 20% of the country’s annual healthcare costs.

Food insecurity is a significant obstacle that affects access to medical care and exacerbates health disparities. Cigna Healthcare recognizes the importance of addressing food insecurity, particularly among seniors, as they offer Medicare Advantage plans to hundreds of thousands of older adults nationwide.