According to a recent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) Health of America study, severe maternal morbidity (SMM) rates increased by 9% in the United States in 2018-2020.

Moreover, SMM rates were 62% higher in primarily Black communities and 32% higher in primarily Hispanic communities. According to the study, the health disparities arise from a mix of social, racial and economic injustices.

The findings also state that the rising SMM rates are partly linked to an increasing number of women with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, a high body mass index or asthma, that increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

“A healthy baby begins with a healthy mom,” said Dr. Josette Gordon-Simet, chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). “To ensure a healthy mom, we must make sure health care prior, during and after pregnancies is accessible to all women.”

BCBSNE supports moms-to-be with its Pregnancy Care Program, which provides members with education, encouragement and support throughout their pregnancy. The program also provides expecting mothers with:

  • A daily checklist of to-dos and education to maintain a healthy pregnancy
  • Customized notifications for medications, doctor appointments and other daily tasks
  • In-app chat with their care manager to ask questions
  • Library of articles, pictures and videos

To extend our commitment to maternal health equity to the communities we serve, BCBSNE invested in the March of Dimes Supportive Pregnancy Program through its Health of Nebraska Sponsorship with Combined Health Agencies Drive. The program provides maternity care providers with education and resources on group prenatal care, which promotes health literacy and equity.

“To truly be there for the health of Nebraskans, we have to be there from the start,” said Kathy Nellor, health transformation leader at BCBSNE. “By supporting an organization like March of Dimes, we are supporting our future Nebraskans and working to close the gap in maternal health equity.”

Learn more about the disparities in maternal health and what BCBSA is doing to combat them in the full report.

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