Telehealth provides convenient and instantaneous access to care, but employees still need help navigating their benefits. One study found that 65% of employees don’t fully comprehend the value of their healthcare benefits. An app is no substitute for the human touch: your employees need a compassionate, human approach who can listen to their needs and guide them to the best solutions and providers.

At Maven, our highly trained Care Advocates help members navigate care throughout their unique family building journey, acting as a digital front door to high quality virtual family care, as well as in-person providers and other benefits.

Why is care advocacy so important to parents?

There are deep and significant gaps in care for women and parents building and raising families. Healthcare costs have risen substantially in the past 20 years, and due to the pandemic, the price for services and premiums are expected to rise even higher over the next few years. Skyrocketing costs are matched with limited access to proactive and specialty care, especially for vulnerable groups like pregnant women of color and working parents. Nearly half of U.S. counties lack an OB-GYN, and according to a 2018 study, 72% of low-income mothers were found to have low maternal health literacy.

Pair that with studies that indicate only about half of U.S. employees understand their benefits, and the gaps come into focus. Many American parents, aspiring or otherwise, are spending a lot of money on benefits they’re unsure of, they’re not receiving the care they need, and generally don’t trust the system to improve their experience.

Read more: 4 must-haves of modern maternal care

With the hasty rise of telehealth, digital front doors, and virtual experiences in response to the pandemic, helping people understand, navigate, and engage with their benefits and their healthcare is more important than ever. Keeping people engaged, proactive, and on-target is crucial to ensuring positive outcomes, especially during the critical period of early development.

What is a Care Advocate?

A Maven Care Advocate is a care provider whose responsibilities are to build a care team for members, answer their questions, make referrals to providers on the platform and in-person, and conduct proactive check-ins and interventions for members as needed. Maven’s Care Advocates combine healthcare expertise with compassion and care, and are trained in every aspect of our members’ health plans, as well as local nuances and regulations. 

Whenever a new member joins Maven, they’re assigned a Care Advocate based on a brief questionnaire, who will meet with them to discuss their goals, medical histories, expectations, and needs, and manage their care throughout their time on the Maven platform. Based on their initial conversation, the Care Advocate helps build out each member’s care plan and team with providers, content, and goals tailored to their unique needs.

And, with thousands of providers covering over 30 different family-health related specialties, speaking over 35 different languages, and reflecting the ethnic and social backgrounds of our members, Maven’s Care Advocates can match care providers based on the member’s needs.

A trusted ally and source of information

Maven Care Advocates focus on building trust with members, getting to know their lives, their families, and their needs. One of the most critical gaps in the maternal care journey is the lack of time expecting parents get to spend with their providers, which prevents them from feeling comfortable asking certain questions, airing concerns, or even sharing thoughts and fears. Care Advocates act as sources of truth, allies, and trusted friends throughout the process, so members always have someone to talk to about their health.

Pei-fang Fan, a Maven Care Advocate, believes empathy and compassion are crucial to building trust with members. “Helping members feel heard and understood is the first step of providing care and trust.  When members feel heard and understood, they are likely to feel empowered to seek help, to voice their needs, to stay engaged and to continue that positive cycle.” Compassion and trust are what make the Maven telehealth experience so unique: it empowers our members to make proactive decisions about their health, and inspires them to make the best choices for their families. 

“Ideally, we are the members’ close friends as well as a useful resource. We love learning about them and their families, celebrating pregnancy after loss, walking with them through grief, getting fertility updates. It’s our goal that members never feel alone in their family planning journeys as long as they are Maven members,” said Brittany Alvarez, a Registered Nurse and Maven Care Advocate.

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Providing personalized care and genuine advocacy

After their initial meeting, Care Advocates conduct routine check-ins with members throughout their journey, whether they’re undergoing fertility treatments, pursuing surrogacy, navigating pregnancy, or raising their children. Care Advocates are also acutely aware of each member’s risk category, offering advice, content, and checking in on members based on their needs. For example, they might reach out to a member with a high risk pregnancy due to a condition like gestational diabetes to check in on their physical and mental health, how their treatment is going, and if they can answer any questions.

Care Advocates help personalize and humanize each member’s experience on Maven throughout their time on the platform. They routinely perform check-ins, during which they can help answer any questions a member may have, assuage any fears, offer words of encouragement, or find new solutions if the care plan isn’t working. “We put a big emphasis on ‘best fit’ between a member and a provider, keeping time zones, preferred demographics, experience, and needs in mind,” says Alvarez. “If a provider does not have immediate appointment availability, we can send them a personal message AND recommend a few similar providers who fit their needs with available appointments, and sometimes in just mere hours.”

It’s important to note that Care Advocates strive to build a respectful, relaxed atmosphere in which members can feel comfortable sharing thoughts and concerns. They don’t judge or make demands, and focus instead on active listening and words of affirmation and encouragement to ensure members feel respected and heard. 

“Through this partnership process with members, they see why we recommend certain providers, how it connects to their needs and they are likely to book an appointment with the provider and have a higher completion rate,” says Fang.

Educating members about procedures, benefits, and timelines

Meetings with Care Advocates provide members with ample opportunities to ask questions, seek advice, and understand where they’re at in their journey. For members pursuing fertility treatments like IVF, they can meet with their Care Advocate to discuss any issues or concerns about their cycles and medications. Trained in every aspect of the member’s benefits and health plan, the  Care Advocate recommends in-person providers, Maven specialty providers, partnered clinics, labs, and more, and books appointments on the member’s behalf.  “Care Advocates use our interaction with members as opportunities for education as well,” said Fang. “We try to pique their interest and curiosity to learn more and either offer Maven articles or connect them to specific providers.”

Educating members can help improve their maternal health literacy, and help them set reasonable goals and expectations. “I think it’s vital to give members the full picture of what this journey will look like for them, if we can,” says Alvarez. Since benefits plans and options differ between organizations and individuals, understanding what services are available from the onset can help members plan ahead. “For example, some insurance companies do not cover Elective Egg Freezing. Care Advocates can look into your insurance company’s coverage, investigate any other financial assistance an employer offers (including things like Maven Wallet and MavenRx) and put it all together in a succinct, easy to understand message.”

Care Advocates contribute to Maven’s industry-leading engagement and touchpoints per member. 75% of high-risk members say, "Maven helped me learn medically accurate information about pregnancy and/or complications," and 55% of members report a better understanding of early warning signs.

Maven’s human-centric approach to telehealth

Maven strives to put women and their families at the center of the experience. Care Advocates help ensure they feel their concerns are heard and validated, and can help guide and educate them about providers across the spectrum of care, from Doulas and Sleep Coaches to Lactation Consultants and Nutritionists. To find out how Maven’s Care Advocates can help your employees engage with their benefits within and beyond Maven, contact us today.

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