How new program helps Medicaid mothers have healthy pregnancies
Health officials all agree that providing a healthful environment for children begins long before birth. Yet, in Pittsburgh and across the state of Pennsylvania, a large number of women don’t receive the proper care and are more likely to require increased and more costly medical care for delivery. Research shows that babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birth weight and five times more likely to die than babies born to mothers who get prenatal care.
But many pregnant women who are eligible for Medicaid insurance don’t know how to access the medical care they need during pregnancy. That’s why UnitedHealthcare launched the Baby Blocks program in Pennsylvania in November 2011.
Baby Blocks is an interactive program that encourages women to make and keep doctor appointments during their pregnancy. The program provides appointment reminders and incentives for seeking prenatal and well-baby care, along with wellness tips throughout the baby’s first 15 months. It also allows UnitedHealthcare Medicaid beneficiaries to use an online interactive “game board,” which most access via a smartphone app to remind them of upcoming doctors’ appointments.
Since its launch, more than 2,000 Pennsylvania women have registered for Baby Blocks and 1,500 babies have been born to UnitedHealthcare Medicaid participants. Baby Blocks has been instrumental in improving the overall health and reducing the health care costs for the female Medicaid population.