Aetna has begun a pilot program to educate female members of childbearing years about the role folic acid may play in preventing premature births. Six large national employers who provide Aetna health benefits to employees based throughout the United States are participating in the pilot, and will distribute educational materials to over 90,000 female employees. Employees will also receive a coupon from The Vitamin Shoppe good for a one-time discount on folic acid tablets. The program continues Aetna’s commitment to promoting the use of evidence-based medicine to improve members’ health. “Despite long-standing recommendations and the fortification of common foods, most women still do not consume sufficient amounts of folic acid,” noted Marjorie Schulman, a neonatologist who is also a senior medical director at Aetna. “Efforts to promote folic acid use prior to conception are complicated further since nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Given Aetna’s unique ability as a health benefits plan to communicate this important public health message directly to employers and members, we felt this program could contribute in an innovative way to promoting healthy pregnancies and ultimately healthy babies through a proactive employment-based wellness strategy.”

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