In Colorado, Medically Tailored Meals Will Save More Than $4.2 Million in Health Care Costs in 2018


A home-delivered meal can be more than just comfort food. It can lead to significant health care savings for people who are ill, their insurance providers, hospitals, and community members.

Project Angel Heart recently completed a study of health care claims data for our medically tailored meal recipients. One of our findings showed that total medical costs for clients with a primary diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or diabetes went down by an average of 24% while they were receiving meals. These cost savings ranged in value from $416 to $736 per month.

So, what does that mean for Colorado? We did the math.

In 2018, Project Angel Heart will deliver meals to 1,740 people living with CHF, COPD, and diabetes in Denver and Colorado Springs (we’ll also serve an estimated 1,260 living with other illnesses). These clients will receive meals for an average of four to five months.

There are some other factors at play here—inflation, changes in the cost of meals and health care, clients living with multiple diagnoses—that, unfortunately, we aren’t able to account for. But we still wanted to get an idea of what these savings could look like in context, so we applied the average monthly health care cost reductions to the 1,740 clients we’ll serve with just these illnesses, factoring in their average length of service.

The estimated total reduction in preventable health care costs in 2018: $4.2 million.

That’s a drastic decrease in the health care dollars spent on clients living with these three illnesses! And, it doesn’t even include medical care cost savings for Project Angel Heart clients with other illnesses. Even as an inexact (and, we believe, conservative) estimate, our data suggests that medically tailored meals will save millions in 2018.

Not only are those savings good for the critically ill neighbors who receive Project Angel Heart’s meals- they’re good for all of us. Reducing the burden of chronic disease ultimately translates to lower health care costs for everyone.

Want to see more data? Check out the results of our study »