Aetna Better Health® of Illinois and Mae Health announce partnership to give members access to local doulas for pregnancy and postpartum health support

Aetna Better Health® of Illinois announced a new partnership with digital health platform Mae Health (“Mae”) to support the maternal health needs of its underserved pregnant and postpartum members in Cook and Kane counties.

Poor maternal health outcomes take an enormous physical and emotional toll on women and their families. On Chicago’s South Side, only three hospitals offer maternity care, severely limiting residents’ options. Black women in the state of Illinois are three times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes as compared to white women and Black infants have the highest infant mortality rate at just over 12 percent. In Chicago, Black women have a maternal mortality rate that is nearly six times higher than white women.

By connecting members with a local doula for virtual and in-person pregnancy and birth education, emotional support, advocacy, labor and delivery support, lactation support and guidance in postpartum, the partnership between Mae and Aetna aims to reduce the disproportionate pregnancy-related deaths and complications among those at highest risk.

Through Mae’s digital health platform, new mothers are matched with a certified, community-based doula whose services are fully covered by Aetna. Members are supported and engaged in their prenatal care early and that engagement continues throughout their birth and postpartum period. Doula services, like those included in Mae’s solution, have proven to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce complications.

“Maternal health equity is a critical issue that affects the well-being of both mothers and babies,” said Lakshmi Emory, MD, MPH – Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “Aetna is invested in improving maternal health outcomes to increase positive long-term health benefits for our moms and babies. Partnering with Mae provides key benefits to our members and gives them access to quality care we know is proven to increase prenatal visits and reduce NICU deliveries, low birth weight rates and maternal deaths during the peripartum period.”

“Towards our collective goal of reducing maternal health disparities and helping mothers achieve the pregnancy experiences and outcomes they deserve, Mae is thrilled to partner with Aetna Better Health of Illinois to drive higher utilization of clinically established digital and community-based supports to their members,” said Maya Hardigan, Founder and CEO of Mae. “We know existing barriers to care impact not only the birthing person, but their children, families, and broader communities, and we are eager to partner on this work to fundamentally redefine the experience of those we serve.”

Mae’s digital health platform centers and empowers the pregnant person throughout all stages of pregnancy. The platform provides expectant and new mothers with symptom tracking, real-time issue escalation support, personalized care, culturally congruent resources and interactive education. 

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