Independence Blue Cross Joins Innovative National Partnership to Improve the Health of Mothers and Babies

Free mobile health service text4baby provides health tips to pregnant women, new moms

Jun 21, 2010, 15:53 ET from Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) announces its support of, and partnership with, text4baby – a new, free mobile information service providing timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby's first year. Research shows that 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby delivers timely health tips by text message to those who need it most. Women who sign up for the free service simply text BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) and receive three free text messages each week timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

"IBC is excited to be a part of text4baby and to reach more members through the communication channel that they're comfortable using," said Dr. Es Nash, senior medical director at IBC. "Mobile health services have the potential to engage consumers, change patient behavior, and improve health outcomes. We believe that this program can have a measurable impact on maternal and child health in our country."

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise.

"We believe the power of partnership and community can make an incredible difference in women's and children's lives," said Judy Meehan, executive director of the National HMHB Coalition. "Text4baby brings HMHB's mission to life and with the help of our partners, we believe we can be a strong catalyst for change."

IBC encourages pregnant moms to sign up to benefit from the timely health information they can gain from text4baby. IBC also supports pregnant and new mothers through its Baby BluePrints(SM) program. Baby BluePrints helps prepare women to welcome their babies by providing prenatal resources and information about each stage of pregnancy and the child's development.

Since wellness is a primary focus at IBC, the insurer continues to promote healthy choices during and after pregnancy by offering breastfeeding reimbursements. Members can receive up to $50 back for taking a childbirth or breastfeeding class, $50 back on the purchase of a breast pump, and $100 towards support from a lactation consultant, a healthcare provider who supports new mothers with breastfeeding their newborns.

In addition, Baby BluePrints offers free telephone-based counseling to help if moms-to-be or members of their households are trying to quit smoking. The program helps women stay healthy, confident, and comfortable throughout and after pregnancy. For more information on this program, go to the Healthy Lifestyles(SM) section of or call 1-800-ASK-BLUE.

The text4baby service is made possible through an unprecedented public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense Military Health System, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group  and corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. MTV Networks is a media sponsor.

About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross