Health: The Tiers of Maternal Care

The Story:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has decided that there are important disparities in care given to pregnant women and mothers, a tiering in the quality of care by race and socio-economic position. BCBSIL is also determined to do something about this.


Dr. Anita Stewart, the medical director of BCBSIL, said in a statement last week, “We are working to help create an environment  that fosters access to affordable benefits, equitable care delivery and wherever possible, better health outcomes.”

Accordingly, BCBSIL is disbursing $350,000 to a group of six community based organizations serving both the south side and the west side of the city. One of the six, for example, offers a home visiting program intended to offer support to young mothers, from 14 to 25, in pregnancy and into the early childhood of their babies.

In Pill Form:

Approximately 700 women die in the US every year because of pregnancy and its complications. It is a measure of the disparity in care that the maternal mortality rate is three times higher among Black than among White women. These differential rates persist among women in either classification across educational levels. Indeed, Black women with a completed college education still have a birth-related mortality rate 1.6 times higher than the rate for White women with less that a high school diploma.


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