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UCare offering discounts on healthy foods to some members

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Cub Foods produce department
The fresh produce department at a Cub Foods store.
Stephanie Hemphill for MPR News File

UCare is now offering its 30,000 non-group health plan members access to hundreds of dollars of healthy food discounts.

The insurer said the Healthy Savings program will help its members save up to $200 a month on healthy foods such as lean meats, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. UCare Health Promotion Manager Nicole Lier said the savings will come in the form of weekly discounts at several grocery chains. 

"We are doing it because we are interested in promoting healthy affordable food for our members so healthy savings allows members to stretch their food budget but at the same time promotes healthier food purchases," Lier said. 

Cash Wise, Cub Foods, Kowalski's and Lunds & Byerlys are among the grocers participating in the programs.

UCare said it expects to spend about $30,000 a year on the food subsidies, with an additional $10,000 this year to launch the program.

Lier said members can access the savings without having to clip coupons. 

"Members will get a card or they can use a mobile app that has a barcode that is specific to them. They just do their shopping. They can choose items that are on special or they can just scan it at the register if they choose to see what might be on special that they already purchased," Lier said.