Under the Wellness Plan, each beneficiary will receive an allowance to be used for purchases needed for a healthy lifestyle.
This year, the Allowance amount is $750, and you may receive this up to twice in the year. It may vary from year to year. If you are paid for working 40 hours or more in a month for 3 months, you will receive your first wellness allowance. Then, after getting paid for working 40 hours or more each month for another 4 months, you can receive the second wellness allowance. The count resets at the start of each calendar year.
You must be active on the first business day of the following month to receive your allowance. For example, if you are paid for working 40 hours or more in January, February, and March, you must be active on the first business day of April to receive your allowance. If you are not active then but you become active by the first business day of May, you will receive your allowance in May.
No need to submit anything to FreedomCare. When you are eligible, you will receive the wellness allowance automatically via direct deposit or paper check, depending on how you receive your paychecks.
You can use the Allowance to buy anything that will help you have a healthier lifestyle like:
- Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables
- Subscriptions to an ingredient and recipe meal kit service like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or Plated
- Exercise equipment like weights, resistance bands, mats.
- Gym and exercise studio memberships
- Exercise class subscriptions
- Personal training sessions
- Over-the-counter medicine like vitamins, pain relievers, allergy medicines, and antacids
- General care items like toothpaste, dental floss, and contact solution
- Nutrition counseling by a Registered Dietitian
- Wellness visits including massage and acupuncture
At this time, the Wellness Plan does not require proof of these purchases.
For more information, you can view the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of the Livewell Wellness Plan. The SPD includes mandated language describing your rights under ERISA,the federal law that regulates employee benefits.
The IRS considers this payment as taxable income to you. Livewell will send you an IRS Form 1099 showing the amount you received if the amount is over $600.
The secret to a healthy eating pattern is one that accounts for all foods and beverages in moderation and includes vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein, and oils. For more information about a healthy, balanced eating pattern visit the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion here.
HHS Nutrition Resources
For a list of organizations that offer credible healthy eating guidance, fun recipes, and health materials, compiled by the Department of Health and Human services click here.
USDA’s Healthy Eating Tips
For practical recommendations regarding a healthy, balanced diet for you and your family, click here.
Non-Diet Approaches & Food Positivity
Make healthy eating patterns exciting and enjoyable! Learn more about non-diet approaches here.
You can eat healthy all week while remaining conscious of your spending! For budget-friendly recipes, meal prep ideas, meal plans, and snack ideas visit Budget Bytes.
Healthy eating isn’t limited to a strict set of ingredients or meals – it spans many cultures and cuisines. Creating and eating food is an important way we express ourselves. Read about healthy cuisines across the world here.
While trying to shop healthy, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and how to stay away from distractions while on a grocery run. Here are some tips on how to be a smart and healthy shopper!
- Make a grocery list
Making a grocery list of what you need before you go to the store can save you time, money, and multiple trips back to the store.A list can also help you remember important ingredients and keep you on track while perusing the aisles.
- Consider shopping on the outer corners of the grocery store
Fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish are more likely to be found on the outer aisles of a grocery store. The middle of the store is generally where more processed food products can be found.
- Practice reading and understanding food labels
The nutrition label on food packaging can be very confusing. What is a moderate amount of calories? How much is a serving? What does sodium have to do with high blood pressure? These questions and more can be answered here.
- Avoid shopping when you’re hungry
When grocery shopping while hungry, it can be easier to purchase processed snacks and high calorie quick-foods in excess.
- Watch out for food marketed to children
Food marketed toward children tends to be low in nutrition and high in sugar. Watch out for sugary cereals, snacks, sodas, and energy drinks, especially those that have a popular cartoon character on the packaging.
Looking for more ways to shop healthier on your next grocery trip? Check out these Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping here.
Food Shopping and Meal Planning
USDA’s list of grocery shopping and meal planning resources includes:
- A National Farmers Market Directory
- Sample 2-week Healthy Meal Prep Calendars
- A Grocery Budget Calculator
- Recommendations on serving sizes and portions
- Important information about nutrition and food storage
- And much more!
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the new name for Food Stamps. For information on how to get access to SNAP benefits in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
If you are on SNAP, Health Bucks is a seasonal program that lets you earn $2 coupons for every $5 spent on your EBT card at farmer’s markets. Sign up for Health Bucks here.
ACE Fitness Exercise Database and Library
You could be a beginner exerciser or an experienced gym-goer. You could have no equipment or your exercise corner. Regardless of your workout situation, ACE Fitness has you covered with workouts to try, sorted by muscle group, equipment (or lack thereof), and difficulty level. Find out more by visiting ACE’s database here.
At Home Workouts
FreedomCare has compiled a long list of at home workout apps and websites, perfect for limiting your time outside during COVID-19. Ranging from no-cost classes to 14-day trials, find out more here.