Today, nearly one in ten deliveries in the United States is premature. And that’s not all: a premature delivery can cost up to 12 times as much as a delivery without complications. These statistics carry serious implications for babies, mothers, families, healthcare providers, and employers. Because premature births have affected so many of us, directly and indirectly, we were inspired to be a part of a Boston Business Journal Table of Experts panel with the March of Dimes and Employee Benefit Solutions to address the economic, social, and emotional costs of prematurity. Expenses range from the obvious (i.e., astronomical hospital bills) to the nuanced (i.e., a valuable employee may leave her job — and cause a ripple effect — if her workplace neglects her during the challenges of caring for a premature infant).
The panel, attended by forward-thinking HR professionals and benefits managers, featured Christopher Maddocks (SVP of Marketing and Communications at March of Dimes), Gina Nebesar (Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder at Ovia Health), Paul Rooney (Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder at Employee Benefit Solutions) and Dr. Adam Wolfberg (Chief Medical Officer at Ovia Health).
Since there’s no single cause or type of preterm birth, there is, of course, no single remedy. For example, progesterone therapy can help avoid some—but not all—preterm deliveries. The panel emphasized the role benefits offerings play in avoiding costs associated with preterm birth and building workplaces that coexist with parenthood.
Ovia Health’s Maternity Benefits Solution is one way companies can help support women in the workforce as well as help prevent preterm births. As our Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Gina Nebesar, explained: with Ovia Health, employers “can engage with people’s health every day in between doctor’s appointments” and with the data that a woman enters each and every day, we can identify signs and symptoms of preterm delivery. When your employees trust your benefits enough to engage with them daily, their workplace becomes an ally for good health. Our maternity benefits are an unparalleled resource for improving individual health outcomes (e.g., avoiding preterm deliveries), as well as boosting retention by nurturing the relationship between employee and employer. Ovia Health is driven by the conviction that “data and technology can be used to drive personalization, which could drive behavior change and ultimately…outcomes.”
We know each premature birth is a threshold experience that changes the course of a family’s life, and we believe the more information and resources we share on the topic, the better off everyone will be. This is why we’re partnering with employers to change the way women and families are supported in the workplace.