At all stages, there are opportunities to improve the health and value for women and their families, from preventing pregnancy complications to ensuring appropriate access to care.
Driving a new set of expectations for women's reproductive health is a younger consumer group making up the majority of today's workforce. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials, and they – along with Gen Z – are vocalizing to employers matters that are most important to them.
Evernorth’s Health Services' new report “The Importance of Women's Reproductive Health Care and Benefits" outlines key trends and consumer sentiments towards these areas of care. Based on a recent research study conducted by lpsos on behalf of Evernorth, shifts in women's health care are showing:
- 50% of consumers expect employers to ensure they are well-informed about women's health care benefits
- 43% expect guaranteed coverage of women/gender-specific care, like any other type of medical care
- 44% want competitive parental/maternity leave
In addition to the changing composition of the workforce, the political and legislative environment is playing a part and driving consumers to act. 43% of consumers say the overturn of Roe v Wade has motivated them to make some kind of lifestyle or health-related decision to ensure they – and their families – can access the care they need.
Access to standard OB/GYN and maternity care is a challenge facing millions of women today, and the recent legislative environment is only expanding these issues, resulting in some patients having to travel long distances to receive basic reproductive care. According to other recent studies:
- 19 million women of reproductive age live in contraceptive care deserts
- 2.2 million of reproductive age live in maternity care deserts
- 40% of counties in the U.S. do not have an 0B/GYN doctor available
This lack of access can result in stress to both women in their families as they juggle navigating various schedules and sometimes transportation limitations to get the care they need.
For many women, mental health milestones and challenges are demonstrably linked to reproductive health, including maternal health care and outcomes. In addition to 43% of women saying their own mental health has declined in the last year, our study also found:
- 15% of new mothers are affected by postpartum depression (PPD)
- 46.5% of women diagnosed with PPD receive no treatment
- 40% of women who have given birth do not attend a postpartum visit
While plan sponsors remain acutely aware of the vital role of behavioral health in today's health care ecosystem, they have yet to align on the resources to best support female consumers' ongoing behavioral health needs.
Employers and health plans are responding to these changing dynamics, offering expanded benefits and tools to support members' health journeys. Specific to women's health care, plan sponsors have expressed organizational interest in expanding benefits, including infertility treatment, and ensuring access to gender-specific care, as well as increasing virtual care options.
Improving women’s health through plan sponsor initiatives
Plan sponsors have an opportunity to ensure that members are aware that such tools and services are available to them. Offering a better coordinated benefit strategy and educational effort is essential to both member awareness and utilization of benefits and could positively impact a woman's long-term health.
Access the full report here.