Does Medicare Cover Meal Delivery?

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Apr 26, 2021

Original Medicare typically doesn’t cover free meal delivery services for seniors. However, Medicare Advantage plans and community programs, such as Meals on Wheels, may be able to help with different food delivery options.

TIP: test yourself with our Medicare quiz!

Senior Meal Options

If you want to keep your body in excellent health, then it helps to maintain a healthy diet, which is a critical component of your wellness. Unfortunately, seniors and people with chronic conditions can find it challenging to make it to the grocery store to purchase fresh items necessary for maintaining a healthy diet.

With impaired mobility, it is even more challenging to transport grocery bags, cook in the kitchen or even maneuver well enough to get around the house. These are all reasons why it can be a hassle trying to ensure your body receives the nutrition it needs.

TIP: Discover 6 quick and easy one-pot meals when you’re cooking for one.

Different Meal Delivery Programs

You have a few different options when it comes to delivery services. The Meals on Wheels program, in particular, tries to help older people who aren’t able to get the right food for themselves due to a disability or chronic health issue.

Best free senior meal delivery services – check with each program for specific eligibility requirements:

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Project Angel Heart
  • Mom’s Meals
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
  • Senior food box programs from local community food banks
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Meals at senior centers

TIP: Get more great Medicare meal delivery and healthy living content delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to the Medicare Benefits newsletter today!

Meals on Wheels

There are 5,000 programs for Meals on Wheels throughout the United States, which help people all over the country. More than 2 million people are supported by this program each year. There is usually a sliding payment schedule that allows people who qualify for the program to receive help and not be turned away because of their financial limitations.

Some Meals on Wheels programs allow individuals to pay for services using food stamps in addition to the sliding scale options. Other services may also be available, including getting a supply of animal food for a pet or transportation.

There are many delivery programs available in addition to Meals on Wheels. Insurance plans often fund them, and the government sponsors many others. When you have financial constrictions, Medicaid can help with meal services for those who qualify.

TIP: Discover easy meal prep for seniors when you’re short on time.

Find a new Medicare plan

Get recommendations based on what's important to you, and compare them to your existing plan.

Medicare Benefits for Meal Delivery Services

Generally, Original Medicare Part A and Part B do not pay for meal delivery. It only covers medically necessary services. Medicare recipients also can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, known as Medicare Part C, instead of Original Medicare. With Medicare Advantage plans, there are usually extra benefits offered, including vision, prescription drug coverage, dental and even meal delivery services.

Costs and coverage may vary for Medicare Advantage plans because private insurance companies offer them. Since you have individual needs, it is a good idea to compare plans and programs offered in your area. Try to select the right one that suits you. You may qualify for meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels if you require emergency medical care regularly, have a severe injury or illness, have specific mental health disorders, or have a demobilizing physical problem.

TIP: Did you know that some Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans offer a healthy food card? Learn more about the Medicare Grocery Allowance.

Medicare Advantage Meal Delivery

You will need to demonstrate to the meal programs that you have an extreme need for their services. Even the situations mentioned above do not automatically qualify you for specific programs. Sometimes, people are only eligible for meal delivery for a limited time. Take, for example, physical conditions that improve, such as a disease or following surgery. You may only be allowed to use Medicare benefits for meal delivery services temporarily.

Check with your insurance provider to find out if you qualify for meal delivery. Even though individuals receive the service on a case-by-case basis for qualifying individuals who genuinely need the help, having a meal delivery service can be highly beneficial for them. It can improve their quality of life by ensuring they have proper nutrition.

TIP: Try the Medicare plan finder to get more of the benefits you are looking for.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-406-1753 or TTY 771

Mon – Fri 5am – 6pm PT | Sat 5am – 5pm PT | Sunday   Closed

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.

    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its sales agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    Get plan recommendations

    Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.

    Find a new Medicare plan

    Click here to find out more

    Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.