<span>PYMNTS - Voice Technology - September 2023</span>

Instacart and InComm to Offer Grocery Delivery to Health Plan Members

grocery delivery

FinTech InComm Payments said its healthcare unit has launched a partnership with Instacart.

The collaboration, announced Tuesday (Oct. 3), allows health plans to offer their members grocery and over-the-counter items for delivery via Instacart.

Starting Jan. 1, members of participating Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and other eligible programs can use InComm Healthcare’s Dual Network Benefit Card to buy groceries, pantry staples, wellness products and over-the-counter medications via Instacart, the companies said in a news release.

The release noted that Instacart’s store partnerships let it reach more than 95% of American households and 93% of the country’s food deserts, a term for neighborhoods without access to fresh, nutritious foods.

“Nutrition has a major impact on health outcomes, so it’s critical for health plans to ensure their members have the means to purchase food and sustain healthy diets,” said Brian Parlotto, executive vice president at InComm Payments. “Working with Instacart will help make groceries more accessible for our health plan partners and their members.”

The partnership is the latest in Instacart’s health efforts, which also includes the company’s decision in August to begin accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT SNAP) payments throughout the entire United States.

By adding Alaska, the company now accepts SNAP online in all 50 states and Washington D.C., with upwards 120 retail banners and more than 10,000 stores, reaching nearly 95% of households enrolled in SNAP, PYMNTS reported in August.

“We’ve seen firsthand that grocery delivery can play a powerful role in expanding access to nutrition — a cornerstone of our mission and Instacart Health initiative,” Sarah Mastrorocco, vice president and general manager at Instacart Health, said at the time. “With the launch of online SNAP acceptance in Alaska, we’re helping more people nourish themselves and their families.”

The partnership comes as consumers are under increased pressure to pay for groceries — in part due to recent cuts to SNAP — and turning to installment payment plans for help. 

According to “Installment Plans Becoming a Key Part of Shopper’s Toolkit,” a PYMNTS and Splitit collaboration, of the 60% of consumers who have used some type of installment payment plan in the past year, 34% did so to purchase groceries. 

“The effects of sustained inflation, reduced government benefits including SNAP and higher interest rates have pressured customer spending, especially for those on a tight budget,” Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen told analysts on a recent earnings call“These customers are buying in smaller pack sizes, [at] times prioritizing the lowest shelf price, … building smaller baskets and switching to lower-priced items to stretch their budgets.”