MetroPlusHealth, which already provides City workers with a robust package of health benefits, is adding a new benefit with the potential to improve the lives of thousands of New Yorkers.
Going forward, municipal workers enrolled in the Gold Plan will be eligible to receive up to 26 visits a year with a dietitian expert at no cost. With the expansion, MetroPlusHealth became the first commercial insurer in the nation to offer free dietitian visits; almost 20,000 plan members are eligible for the offering.
“As a physician, I know that food is medicine, and medicine does not always come as a pill,” says Dr. Talya Schwartz, President and CEO of MetroPlusHealth.
It is no secret that too many New Yorkers have unhealthy diets. New Yorkers often eat foods high in saturated fats with added sugar and sodium. At the same time, many do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains, putting themselves at higher risk for stroke and heart disease. With free access to expert advice from dietitians, members can get personalized plans that will put them on the path to better health. The advice will help those coping with illness and those who want to prevent it.
The new benefit is just the latest example of the emphasis MetroPlusHealth puts on measures highlighting the critical role diet can play in health care. In February, MetroPlusHealth’s parent, NYC Health + Hospitals, announced the expansion of its groundbreaking lifestyle medical services at six public sites across the City. The program provides patients with chronic diseases the tools to make healthy lifestyle changes, including giving them access to plant-based foods.
The focus on a diet has the enthusiastic support of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has been very open about his struggles with Type 2 diabetes and how a better diet allowed him to put the disease into remission. “Healthy food is medicine all New Yorkers should have access to,” says Mayor Adams.