Instacart wants more healthcare partners

Instacart is on a roll in healthcare.

One year after launching its health division, Instacart Health, the grocery delivery company has launched major initiatives alongside health systems and payers — and it has no plans to slow down.

"Our goal is to be infrastructure for everyone. By applying what we've done in the retail industry, we can help healthcare do the same," Sarah Mastrorocco, vice president and general manager at Instacart Health, told Becker's. "Let us be your technology innovation partner to help you scale programs or to just bring awareness to people so they can make healthier choices."

Instacart said its service area reaches 95% of the U.S. population through a network of more than 80,000 stores and 1,400 retail partners. In 2023, the company became the first online grocery service to allow customers to pay for products with SNAP benefits in all 50 states.

Health systems that are partnered with Instacart can use the company's online and mobile storefronts to recommend items for a patient's specific medical or dietary needs.

At Boston Children's Hospital, employees select the best products for pediatric patients with specific dietary needs, while Mount Sinai Solutions, an employer services division of New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System, partnered with Instacart to target postoperative and postpartum patients. Patients within the Mount Sinai Solutions network who have recently received specialized care and surgery are also granted $110 for grocery delivery of products within the virtual storefront.

In October, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente partnered with Instacart to conduct a study that examines how food delivery access impacts the health outcomes of individuals with diet-related diseases, such as diabetes or chronic heart failure. Kaiser will provide a grocery stipend to Medi-Cal members in Northern and Southern California with diet-related diseases to be used on nutritious foods from the virtual storefront. Researchers will measure blood sugar levels, reported food and nutrition security, diet-related disease quality of life, patient readiness to change and hospitalization or emergency department visits.

"We won't tell you what's healthy. We want to be the infrastructure that helps experts such as health systems," Ms. Mastrorocco said. "If a healthcare organization wants to take food as medicine and apply it, expand access or address broad population health, we ask that they start with us and see if we can offer the best tools for them."

With payers, Instacart has launched a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan alongside Alignment Health and delivers groceries to Centene's Medicaid members in Kentucky through a partnership with WellCare.

The Alignment-Instacart Medicare Advantage plan targets chronically ill older adults across parts of California and Nevada. Along with access to Alignment's virtual Instacart storefront, eligible individuals receive $50 to $100 quarterly grocery stipends, a free Instacart+ membership, free delivery on select orders and technical assistance when creating an account and placing orders.

"What we can do best is make healthcare advice actionable," Ms. Mastrorocco said. "Sometimes patients will go to a doctor for advice, and that becomes a pamphlet that gets thrown in the bottom of a car. The magic of Instacart is that we can make that advice immediately shoppable."

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