ATLANTA and TAMPA, Fla., April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- WellCare of Georgia, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) company, is contributing more than $10,000 to support the March of Dimes in its mission to help give all babies a healthy start in life by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Every year, approximately 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely in the United States. Preterm birth, defined as babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy, is the leading cause of infant death. Premature babies are also at greater risk of neurological disorders and other health problems.
WellCare will serve as a local sponsor for the March of Dimes' signature fundraising event, March for Babies, which will be held in Atlanta on April 22, 2017 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
"We're grateful and excited to have WellCare of Georgia playing a leading role with March for Babies," said Todd Hermon, March of Dimes regional vice president. "The passion and commitment to the health of babies from the WellCare staff will be a tremendous factor driving the success of the event. March for Babies, the March of Dimes' largest fundraisers, supports programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies and allow us the opportunity to help the community we love."
Georgia earned a "D" grade for its 10.8 percent preterm birth rate, according to the 2016 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.
As they grow older, premature babies may have a harder time in school and are more likely to have learning and behavioral problems throughout childhood. This may lead to low test scores, having to repeat grades and needing special education services. About 1 in 3 children born prematurely will need special school services at some point during their school years. The Institute of Medicine says these services cost an estimated $2,200 per child per year.
"Babies born to mothers who lack prenatal care have three times the chance of being born at a low birth weight," said Sonya Nelson WellCare's state president in Georgia. "WellCare is committed to continually improving the care and services we provide to our members, especially expectant mothers, to help them have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies."
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As of Dec. 31, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 571,000 Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® plan members, 40,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 23,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia. To learn more about how WellCare cares for Georgians, watch Gloria's story at http://youtu.be/qyn-nywze04.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. The company serves approximately 3.9 million members nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.