Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross MA) launched new women’s health offerings Monday, including a reproductive health care team and a partnership with Maven Clinic, a virtual clinic for women and families.
The Boston-based insurer serves about 3 million members. Its new reproductive health care team is led by an OB/GYN physician and can help members with issues related to infertility, maternity, abortion access and travel. The team can also explain members’ benefits and the resources available to them, provide guidance on medical policy and offer advocacy support.
“Our specialists share information about covered services and related medical policies, and help members navigate the medical system or link them with Blue Cross nurse case managers who can provide additional clinical guidance on their health and treatment,” said Dr. Sandhya Rao, Blue Cross MA’s chief medical officer, in an email.
Through the partnership with New York City-based Maven Clinic, Blue Cross MA is providing 24/7 support for women and families. The virtual provider offers family planning support, delivery and postpartum support, pediatric support, sleep coaching, mental health and nutrition services, adoption and surrogacy assistance and menopause specialists.
Blue Cross MA’s fully insured employers with at least 51 employees can add Maven Clinic’s program for no cost. Maven Clinic is also an optional service for self-insured employer customers. Blue Cross MA will offer Maven Clinic to its employees “in the coming months” as well, according to a news release.
Maven Clinic is not the only virtual company supporting women and families. Kindbody and Progyny both offer family-building support, Mae and Mahmee offer maternal health support and Evernow and Midi Health provide menopause care.
While Rao did not mention these other companies, she said Blue Cross MA chose Maven Clinic as a partner because it “provides an end-to-end offering throughout the reproductive health journey from guidance to finding high-quality IVF clinics to supporting members through their menopause journey.” She added that Blue Cross MA was drawn to Maven Clinic’s diverse team of specialist coaches, including virtual doulas, sleep coaches and lactation consultants. In addition, the virtual health provider has several existing Blues partnerships.
The launch of these women’s health offerings comes at a time when maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are climbing. In 2021, there were 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births compared to 23.8 deaths in 2020 and 20.1 deaths in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For non-Hispanic Black mothers, the maternal mortality rate was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women.
Rao also cited a recent Deloitte analysis that found that employed women experience greater medical costs and receive significantly less value from their health benefits than employed men. Out-of-pocket healthcare costs for employed women in the U.S. are about $15 billion more per year than for employed men.
“Women’s health is a major opportunity for us to provide services and support options that help women across their health journey,” Rao stated.
In offering these new women’s health services, Rao said she ultimately aims to help women receive the care they need.
“Inquiries from members on issues related to reproductive health have increased significantly in recent years,” she said. “We also know many of our customers want to increase access to reproductive and women’s health services and support for their employees. Our hope is that these services help our members navigate the complicated and fragmented parts of the health care system throughout their lives and ensure they can get the care and support that meets their needs.”
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