The health insurance company has recently expanded the availability of baby blocks a smartphone application designed to remind expecting and new parents of upcoming medical appointments –
Baby blocks was available only to members of UnitedHealthcare Medicaid in 14 states, until November, when the company offered Baby Blocks to their large employer clients nationwide.
Since early this year, 17 companies with 5,000 or more employees signed up to offer baby blocks, Hellmer said.
None of these companies are headquartered in Oregon, but 210,000 employees in the state are eligible for the benefit, he said. UnitedHealthcare has 366,000 members in Oregon but employer plans, military, veterans, insurance or Medicaid.
Hellmer said when UnitedHealthcare Baby Blocks offered in three states users Medicaid prenatal visits increased by 14 percentage points compared to those who did not use the application.
Going to appointments is important for the health of the mother and baby and could help with things like low birth rate, he said. Oregon is highly qualified in this area, with only 6 percent of births in the state of being less than 5 pounds 8 ounces, according to a grading report 2014 Health United States by the United Health Foundation, but “still 6 percent of babies are born too small,” Hellmer said.
“It’s just a little important fact to say there are still babies born with low birth weight and prenatal and postnatal care are vital for both mother and baby and this really helps with that, because it reminds you of your appointments, and can answer your questions if you have them, “he said.
Employees with UnitedHealthcare and want to use Baby Blocks should contact the human resources department of your employer, Hellmer said. She said she could not reveal which companies are offering baby blocks, but said UnitedHealthcare hopes to add more employers.