UnitedHealthcare has just launched a nationwide bundled-payment model for maternity care. The plan already has two provider groups participating and has plans to add up to 20 by the end of 2019.
Like other insurers, UnitedHealthcare saw the high costs and varying quality of pregnancy and childbirth services, which were the most common reasons for hospitalizations in the U.S.
In 2018, the plan received around 324,000 maternity claims, accounting for almost 1 out of 10 U.S. births.
Research has shown that there is a large variation in the cost of maternity-care services, which makes it an ideal services to be bundled. The bundle, which is paid retrospectively, was created for members who don’t have other complex medical conditions that could increase the risks of pregnancy. The bundle begins when the member is admitted for labor, but it will look at care provided prior to and after labor as well.
UnitedHealthcare isn’t the first insurer to see the need for a maternal bundle. Cigna and Humana began offering a bundle since early last year. The bundle options from insurers originated as providers see a high maternal mortality rate. Around 700 women in the U.S. die every year due to pregnancy or birth-related complications after delivery. Some of the most common issues are heart disease, stroke, severe bleeding, high blood pressure and infections.