Focusing on Women’s Health
For Your Benefit - November 2023
As the end of the year approaches, there are many opportunities to celebrate, including spending time during the holidays with family and friends and completing year-end activities at work. One of my highlights each year is the last VBA-sponsored education and training event, the Women in Banking Conference. It is an exciting day filled with celebrating women in the banking industry through inspiring speakers and networking with peers. As I reflected on why I look forward to this event each year, it dawned on me that it relates to my passion for improving the health and well-being of our members. This event allows women to let go of all professional and personal responsibilities and obligations for the day and focus on self-care and mental well-being!
Statistics show that women tend to be the primary caregivers for their families, which can take a toll on both physical and mental health. Additionally, women may not make time to address a health concern and wait until it is an emergent situation. Women employees are more than 60% of our health plan’s population, and it is important for the VBA Benefits Corp. to provide tools, resources and treatment options in efficient and flexible ways that can fit into busy and hectic lifestyles.
There are also women’s health issues that are often not addressed or are considered taboo in the workplace due to their sensitive nature, like infertility, pelvic floor issues, and menopause. These health issues have been prevalent for years, but many employers have not focused on or communicated treatment or supportive resources. The VBA Benefits Corp. is introducing two new digital women’s health programs to our plan’s covered members in 2024:
- Hinge Health, our current digital musculoskeletal vendor, introduced a Pelvic Floor pathway for our women members earlier this spring.
- Maven Clinic – new for 2024 – is a comprehensive family planning and support program with four pathways that include family building and infertility, maternity and newborn care, parenting and pediatrics, and menopause and ongoing care. This robust coaching program provides access to so many specialty resources and educational tools to support women through significant life stages.
The best part of these programs is that they are virtual so women can access care on their own time in the comfort of their homes and at no cost!
The VBA Benefits Corp. is currently vetting another virtual offering – a heart health digital program that monitors blood pressure and encourages lifestyle-related changes. Our research on women’s heart risks led us to information that emphasizes the need for women to focus on their heart health, including:
- women die from heart attacks at two times the rate of men;
- women’s heart attack symptoms are often different than men’s – shortness of breath, back and neck pain, stomach discomfort, nausea and chest tightness; and
- menopause is an increased risk of heart disease.
This digital, AI-driven offering would be another potential program that could be accessed at any time of day or night to fit into a busy life.
By continuing to remove the time and financial barriers in utilizing our healthcare benefits, we are more likely to improve the health and well-being of our members, particularly women, who serve very important roles in both our personal and professional lives.