Minnesota HMO Matches Healthy Plan Members with Medicare Recipients Needing Help

From 1996 to 1998, Medica Health Plan, a nonprofit health maintenance organization in Minneapolis, created the Volunteer Investment Program to match healthy plan member volunteers with Medicare members who required companionship, help with chores, grocery shopping and other special services.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Service Credit Banking in Managed Care national program.

Key Results

  • By the third year of the project, 160 volunteers were providing services for about 200 recipients each month. Requests for transportation to doctor's visits, grocery shopping and other destinations were by far the most commonly requested services.
  • Medica's Medicare population declined sharply in the latter part of the grant period, and it terminated the Volunteer Investment Program at the end of 1998.