posted by AHIP
on March 25, 2019
Access to health coverage is a critical issue for women.
Women are higher users of health care resources than men due to reproductive health needs, maternity care, and longer life expectancies. And recent research shows women with health coverage are more likely to get vital preventive, primary, and specialty care services.
Women are also more engaged with the health care system as a whole. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor found that women make 80% of health care decisions for their families. They’re also more likely to be the primary caregiver when a child gets sick.
By using innovative technologies and finding ways to lower the cost of care, health insurance providers are taking steps to meet the health needs of women.
FirstCare’s “Expecting the Best” maternity program sought to do just that by giving expecting mothers coordinated and patient-centered care throughout the entire term of their pregnancy.
Using early identification and intervention, ongoing patient education, social support, and proactive prenatal care, it was able to lower neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions for enrollees in West Texas by 38% below the national Medicaid population.
Not only that—rates for babies born with very low birthweights in the program were nearly 75% below national benchmarks.
All of this was done by analyzing layers of data and demographics in West Texas, identifying at-risk mothers, and inviting these women, who may already be pregnant or soon become pregnant, to join the program.
After assessing their health and risk factors, FirstCare immediately connected those mothers with high-risk pregnancies with experienced nurses to serve as their case managers, providing regular coaching calls, arrangement and coordination of critical doctor’s appointments, and more.
Another leading provider, Cigna, helped women access personalized care through the “Cigna Health Pregnancy” app.
As Dr. Patricia Stephenson, senior medical director at Cigna explains, “Our new app is designed to make it easier to enroll and engage in Cigna’s Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies program, which has shown to have a direct impact on improved health outcomes for both mom and baby.”
The app delivers convenient, personalized guidance, giving expectant moms and dads information to help them make important health care decisions in real-time.
Whether through an app or more traditional approaches, women’s health care services need to be safe, affordable, personalized, and guided by sound medical evidence. As women age, their health care needs will evolve and health insurance providers are uniquely positioned to empower women to make health a priority.