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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Companies target moms-to-be with wellness programs

Most of us know that telling the boss you are pregnant can be tricky. But now, there are new reasons to blab: benefits. Ten years ago, many employers viewed pregnant employees as liabilities. But today, companies are seeing the potential for cost savings by reaching out to this group with new 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.

To read more about this trend, click here.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another reason to blab: telling your employer that you are, in fact, pregnant can explain otherwise seemingly strange behavior, disinterest or altered performance. I was terribly, terribly sick during my first trimester, and some days I couldn't even drive in or look at a computer screen. Sometimes severe sickness is a reality, and as a culture, we have to start deciding that if we value families -- and the biological role that only women play in creating them -- then we can make accomodations for pregnant women (without feeling like doing so is somehow "unfair"). Fortunately, once I told people that I was sick, lethargic, and absent a lot because I was pregnant, everyone was quite understanding. But because I felt uncomfortable saying anything for a few weeks, it was incredibly stressful for me since I worried how people were perceiving my changed performance. I wish I hadn't had to worry...

3:58 PM  
Blogger Cindy Goodman said...

You make a good point. Figuring out when to tell the boss you are pregnant can be tricky. But I have found how you tell the boss is most important.

2:21 PM  
Blogger KivaJane said...

Employee Wellness Programs are great!
http://www.employee-wellness-programs.com Employee Wellness

11:59 PM  

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