Companies target moms-to-be with wellness programs
*Pitney Bowes has a Great Expectations program for its pregnant workers. Once women sign up for the program, they are given a dedicated nurse who will call to check up on them throughout their pregnancies and after.
* AOL has a WellBaby program for pregnant employees. It provides pregnant employees and beneficiaries with a case manager who works to answer questions and provide support. AOL also offers a lactation program that lets employees receive lactation counseling both in-person and over the phone. The program makes sense for AOL, which has a large female population. Thirty-eight percent of benefit-eligible employees are women, and the average age at AOL is 37. Eighty-six percent of participants in the WellBaby program had high-risk pregnancies. In 2007, AOL saved an estimated $400,000 in just preterm labor prevention. Of the five sets of twins born last year, only one set was born prematurely.
With women having babies later and using fertility treatments, births and complications are more costly. The stats say it all: Maternal care services account for one out of every five dollars large employers spend on health care, according to a recent report by the National Business Group on Health.
The business case for these programs is even more pronounced for companies that cover fertility treatments under their health care plans, says Patti Freedman, a senior health care consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide. “If I was an employer with fertility benefits, I would tell employees that in order to get these benefits, they have to take part in the wellness program,” she says.
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