Maternity-related care is often at the top of the list of medical costs for an organization. Employers in the U.S. are collectively billed $12 billion annually in excess healthcare costs due to premature births. Your company may have seen bills for twins or triplets, a preterm birth and NICU stay, or other complicated pregnancy conditions. As your employees go through these complicated life events, their absence from your workplace contributes to the cost of maternity care. And in addition to the tangible medical line items, you as an employer will be concerned about the wellbeing of your employees and their new families. What can you do about it?
Invest in effective maternity benefits programs.
Solve the problem before it starts
One of the best way to ensure a healthy, normal pregnancy is to provide healthy living guidance and tracking before an employee gets pregnant. Mothers who are obese during pregnancy have a higher risk of diabetes and C-section rates, and babies born to obese mothers have a potential increased risk for fetal death, some birth defects, and some types of preterm birth. If your employee can start exercising regularly and eating vitamin-rich foods before she’s pregnant, she will continue these healthy habits into her pregnancy and avoid potential costly, negative outcomes.
Invest in a robust program
Maternity benefits programs should be more than a phone call from HR and a pamphlet on a how to have a healthy pregnancy. Maternity programs should have daily touchpoints with your employees to ensure mom is educated on how to keep herself and her baby healthy. With a personalized, mobile program like Ovia Health, a pregnant employee can track her pregnancy symptoms daily, record doctor’s appointments, and receive tailored pregnancy tips.
Ovia Health will also send her critical health alerts when she tracks troublesome symptoms and she will be enrolled in clinical programs after completing the Health Assessment. If an employee logs that she’s lost a few pounds, has increased appetite, and has been feeling exhausted, Ovia Health immediately sends her a critical health alert that the combination of these symptoms may be from gestational diabetes. She can then set up an appointment with her healthcare practitioner to catch it early.
Ovia Health also integrates with your organization’s unique maternity health benefits so your employees receive all of their pregnancy-related information in one central place. By integrating pregnancy tracking, health information, clinical programs, and maternity benefits in one place, you’re providing employees with an engaging, helpful pregnancy hub.
The business case for supporting breastfeeding is a no brainer. Women who breastfeed have less risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, and heart disease — not to mention they recover from pregnancy faster, meaning they can return to work healthier and more confident. Babies who are breastfed have a much better defense against illnesses and diseases, meaning less absenteeism among employees who have to care for them. One-day absences due to a baby’s illness happen twice as often among parents of babies who are not breastfed. Mutual of Omaha saw direct cost savings from supporting breastfeeding: they saved $2,146 per employee in healthcare costs and had an annual savings of $115,881 for mothers who participate in the company’s lactation program. Breastfeeding support is a win-win-win for mothers, babies, and you.
Support your mothers
The cost of replacing an employee can range anywhere from 20% of an employee’s salary on the low end to over 200% for executive level employees. Offering paid or flexible leave and robust maternity benefits may be the difference of your employees returning and staying after maternity leave and deciding not to come back at all, so make sure your benefits and policies are up-to-date, competitive, and supportive.
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