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Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer reportedly "is venturing into the health insurance field, partnering with a local Medicare Advantage plan provider," the Detroit Free Press reports.  And a key benefit of the plan is providing members with an annual $660 allowance that can be used for healthy foods and OTC health and wellness items.

According to the story, Meijer "is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) on a Medicare Advantage Plan … The new plan, called Medicare Plus Blue PPO + Meijer, will be available to seniors starting Oct. 15, which is the start of the annual Medicare enrollment period that runs through Dec. 7. The plan will be accepted at all Meijer stores throughout Michigan.

"Like many Medicare Advantage plans available, the Medicare Plus Blue PPO + Meijer has a $0 monthly premium, annual deductible, primary care visits, and $0 copay on many generic prescription drugs to use at BCBSM in-network pharmacies, according to a news release. The plan also includes dental and vision coverage."

KC's View:

Love the food component of this - it reflects the accurate belief that there is a thick line that can be drawn between food and health, and companies like Meijer are ideally positioned to take advantage of it (no pun intended).  I would imagine at some level it makes sense for Meijer to get into the health insurance business just to be able to make these connections.