Money Motivates Moms-to-Be to Get Prenatal Care


money-money-moneyHey insurance companies and care providers — want moms to get better prenatal care? If a recent study out of Harvard School of Public Health is to believed, all it takes is $100 cold, hard cash.

Inventive health insurance provider Culinary Health Fund, out of Las Vegas, offered pregnant moms $100 upon delivery of their baby if they received prenatal care in their first trimester and regularly thereafter. Interestingly, they offered participating OB’s and midwives $100 as well.

What they found was that between 1999 and 2001, the program reduced its members’ risk of delivering a low birth weight baby by 39 percent. It also cut the need for NICU care and reduced health care spending in the first year of life by $235. Membership in the Healthy Pregnancy Program jumped from 14 to 76 percent.

Prenatal care is a big commitment, one that — you’d think — requires a deep desire for a healthy birth and healthy child, rather than dreams of a $100 payday. I’d be curious to know whether the huge increase in participants was actual due to mothers being motivated by money, or improved education and awareness on the part of the provider. After all, $100 goes pretty fast when you’re a new mom. But $100 a patient adds up when you’re a busy clinic.

What do you think about the idea of paying moms-to-be for their prenatal care?

Photo:  jenn_jenn, Flickr