WELLESLEY, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Harvard Pilgrim Health Care announced today that it is the first health insurer in the country to offer EatRight Rewards℠, a pioneering program that provides financial rewards to employees who buy healthy foods at the grocery store. Through the company-funded initiative, Harvard Pilgrim employees can earn up to $20 every month as an incentive to improve their grocery shopping and eating habits. Harvard Pilgrim employer groups will be able to design their own rewards programs.
The sophisticated program is based on a nutritional scoring method that assigns healthiness values to more than 100,000 foods, taking more than 30 different nutrient factors into account. Each food item that an employee or family member places in their shopping cart is scored and an average for each shopping trip is calculated.
EatRight Rewards℠ was rolled out as a pilot to Harvard Pilgrim’s workforce last fall and offered savings on healthy foods through eCoupons, as well as education for healthy shopping and recipes. The financial rewards were added this spring. To be eligible for the $20 reward, employees must register their store loyalty cards, make at least one shopping trip a month and have an average monthly shopping basket score of 60 or above. Employees can choose to have their reward deposited into their checking or PayPal accounts. Currently more than one-third of Harvard Pilgrim employees are participating. They have recorded more than 4,000 shopping trips. More than 65% of the shopping trips have registered average shopping basket nutritional scores of 60 or higher on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 as the best. The average shopping basket score nationally has been calculated at between 30 and 45.
A number of major supermarkets are actively participating in this program including Shaw’s, Star Market, Roche Brothers, Hannaford, Wegmans and others. Discussions are currently ongoing with additional local and regional supermarket chains.
Harvard Pilgrim will offer the EatRight Rewards℠ to its employer groups later this year. Employers will be able to design their own employee rewards.
“What better way to encourage people to eat well than to put money in their pockets for choosing healthy foods,” said Eric H. Schultz, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim. “We want our employees and members to lead happy, healthy lives and good nutrition plays an important role in making that happen. Eating healthy can lead to weight loss and reductions in cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar levels. These factors help to lower overall health insurance costs.”
EatRight Rewards℠ is powered by NutriSavings, a Newton, Mass.-based company that developed the first online ecosystem where produce growers, supermarkets and food and beverage companies join forces with employers to get employees healthy.
Harvard Pilgrim employees can earn additional savings by accessing eCoupons offered by food and beverage companies and the growers of fresh produce on the EatRight Rewards℠ site. Participants get inspired and engaged by emails that feature their latest shopping trip scores, recipes, rewards for healthy purchases and suggestions for healthier alternatives. Participants can see their progress by watching their grocery basket scores improve, while enjoying the health benefits that come with a more nutritious diet.
“EatRight Rewards℠ is all about encouraging shoppers to think about what they are putting in their shopping baskets and rewarding them for buying nutrient rich, healthy foods,” said Schultz. “The concept is so simple; it is surprising that it wasn’t created long ago. We will be carefully monitoring results, and we will report back on how the program is going.”
“The costs of obesity and other chronic diseases associated with poor nutrition are staggering – to both employees and employers. We believe in the power of better nutrition to improve health, boost productivity and reduce employee absenteeism,” said Gerard Bridi, NutriSavings CEO. “We look forward to applying our technologies and business models to support Harvard Pilgrim Health Care employees on their path to better health.”
About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is a not-for-profit health services company serving more than one million members in New England. Founded in 1969, the health plan has built its reputation on pragmatic innovation with a goal of lowering costs, improving care and enhancing the overall member experience. Harvard Pilgrim is known for its excellent clinical programs, customer service, health improvement strategies and innovative tools that offer consumers greater transparency and empower them to make better decisions about their health care.
Harvard Pilgrim is the #1 private health plan in America again according to an annual ranking of the nation’s best health plans by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Harvard Pilgrim is the only private health plan in the nation to be named #1 for ten consecutive years.*
*NCQA’s Private Health Insurance Plan Rankings, 2011-14, HMO/POS. NCQA’s Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2010-11 – Private. U.S.News/NCQA America’s Best Health Insurance Plans 2005-2009 (annual). America’s Best Health Insurance Plans is a trademark of U.S.News & World Report. NCQA The State of Health Care Quality 2004.
NutriSavings is an online ecosystem where employers, health plans, food and beverage companies, and produce growers, join forces to get employees healthy. We are on a mission to improve the health of the U.S. workforce and reduce the enormous costs associated with obesity and other chronic diseases through better nutrition. NutriSavings is the first measurable nutrition benefit solution that is designed to change shopping behavior and incentivize healthy food purchases. Our solution is integrated with 70% of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, enabling participants to see their grocery basket score in near real-time. NutriSavings is a joint-venture between Edenred, the world leader in employee benefits, and SavingStar, the only national fully digital grocery savings service in the U.S.