Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: FarmboxRx SNAP/EBT pilot
Overview: FarmboxRx has become the first national online grocery delivery service to accept SNAP/EBT benefits as payment from Medicare and Medicaid recipients.
Location: United States
Population: 63.3 million Medicare beneficiaries (2021), 76.5 million Medicaid beneficiaries (2020)
Food policy category: Food security, nutrition
Program goals: To make healthy food accessible to all.
How it works: FarmboxRx partners with insurers and healthcare providers across the country to allow Medicare and Medicaid members the ability to order boxes of fresh produce online. Individuals can choose from the following produce boxes, each consisting of seasonal products based on delivery location:
- All Fruit
- All Vegetable
- Mixed Produce
- Healthy Snacking
- Asian Cuisine
- Hispanic Cuisine
All condition-specific boxes are designed by a team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).
All boxes include:
- Easy and nutritious recipes using fresh produce
- Exercises and games for mental health
- Tips for healthy eating on a budget.
Those interested in creating a FarmboxRx account should first check their eligibility with their insurance provider, and then sign up either online or by phone using their OTC (Over-the-Counter) benefit card number.
Progress to date: Farmbox Direct was the first organic and natural produce delivery service to ship fresh fruits and vegetables to households nationwide. In January 2020, the company launched FarmboxRx to service Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries using a “food as medicine” model. In October 2021, they received USDA approval to accept SNAP/EBT benefits as payment.
Why it is important: In the US, low income is associated with poorer health outcomes and lower life expectancy. Low-income Americans are more likely than those with higher incomes to develop heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic conditions.
Many of these chronic conditions can be prevented or treated with a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. However, low-income Americans and/or those living with disabilities, who rely on SNAP/EBT benefits to purchase food, may not be able to access physical stores where healthy foods are sold and their benefits are accepted.
FarmboxRx is making it easier for these individuals to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables without leaving their home.
Program/Policy initiated: The USDA provided approval to accept SNAP/EBT benefits in October 2021.
Point of contact: N/A
Similar practices: FarmboxRx is the first and only fresh produce delivery service to accept SNAP/EBT benefits.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted.
- Food As Medicine: It’s Not Just A Fringe Idea Anymore (NPR)
- Food Insecurity of People with Disabilities Who Were Medicare Beneficiaries During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Disability and Health Journal)
- Food is Medicine: Actions to Integrate Food and Nutrition into Healthcare (British Medical Journal)
- The Right to Food: Building Upon “Food Is Medicine” (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
- CMS Fast Facts (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- FarmboxRx (FarmboxRX)
- FarmboxRx Becomes First Fresh Grocery Delivery Service to Accept SNAP/EBT Benefits (Business Wire)
- FarmboxRx Now Accepting SNAP & EBT (YouTube)
- Health, Income, & Poverty: Where We Are & What Could Help (Health Affairs)
- Health Insurance, SNAP Benefits Can Pay for Produce Online Via FarmboxRx (The Packer)
- How You Can Prevent Chronic Diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Online Grocery Retailer to Accept SNAP/EBT Benefits (Progressive Grocer)
- Poor Nutrition (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)