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Independent Health partners with Tops Markets on nutrition benefit

Independent Health is teaming up with Tops Friendly Markets on a plan that offers an incentive to its members to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

The carrier on Jan. 1 will launch a program for members who are employees of small businesses, or who buy individual coverage, that rewards people who buy fresh fruit for vegetables at Tops supermarkets.

For every $2 spent on this produce, Tops will credit $1 for use at a later time. Independent Health will issue the member a co-branded Tops gift card at the end of every quarter.The credits can be used to buy anything in the store except tobacco products, representatives of the two companies said today.

Members can earn up to $1,000 per family policy or $500 per single policy annually.

The nutrition benefit will be expanded to members who are employees of large companies some time in the spring, Independent Health officials said.

The program was announced this morning at a news conference in the Tops on Elmwood Avenue in North Buffalo.

--- Stephen T. Watson

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