A cohort of women gathered at the NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County in Prospect Lefferts Gardens after meeting with their doctors on April 7. They all had a few things in common. For starters, they were all expecting a child — and they were all about to find out what benefits they were entitled to at a maternal health expo sponsored by insurance provider MetroPlusHealth.
“I don’t want insurance bills to be my main worry during my pregnancy,” said Eulalie Decuir, 29, who is in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. “So many bills start coming even before the baby does.”
Insurance is a critical factor in ensuring that women receive the preventive and medical care they need, according America’s Health Rankings, the annual assessment of the country’s health. Compared with insured women, uninsured women have more disadvantages, including inadequate access to health care, lower standard of care when in the system, unmet need for medical care due to cost, and less use of recommended preventive services, among others.
According to to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, birthing parents often deal with medical conditions such as complications from childbirth, pain, depression or anxiety — all while caring for a newborn. It can be a medically vulnerable period and many cases of maternal mortality occur in the postpartum period.
“Pregnancy is delicate,” said Lyrdine Thimot, of MetroPlusHealth, to the expecting women at the “Baby Bump” event. Thimot encouraged women to consider signing up for health insurance, if they did not have any, and seeing about what MetroPlusHealth could do for them.
“If you breastfeed, you can get weak and that’s not a good time to be receiving calls from your insurance company,” she said. “But if you call me, it goes straight to my phone. My clients are mine, not some other agent’s. You can and should get comfortable with someone specific.”
In total, the event saw “135 baby bumps,” according to Keisha Daniels, manager of brand partnerships and experiential marketing at MetroPlusHealth — six of whom gave birth that very morning.
In additional to informational packets, women in attendance got to enter to win one of eight raffle prizes, which consisted of high chairs, play pens, baby gyms and more. The event was hosted in partnership with CAMBA, Storks Nest, the NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
“The doctors, patients and staff were overjoyed with positive energy,” said Daniels, who further noted that this was the company’s first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic, making its timing all the more important.
“Expectant moms experience a range of maternal health needs during their pregnancy. We want to ensure that they receive all the health resources to deliver a healthy baby,” said Daniels. “We look forward to supporting mothers and their maternal health needs in our communities.”