Maternal Health Food Distribution Program for Blue Cross Community Health PlansSM Members

December 16, 2021

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) needs your help to identify Blue Cross Community Health Plans (BCCHPSMpregnant members who qualify for this free maternal health food distribution program. Qualifying women must be less than 24 weeks gestation and:

  • Have obesity, hypertension, hyperemesis, anemia or diabetes, AND
  • Live in Chicago, Kankakee, Rockford or East St. Louis

Pregnant and postpartum women in the U.S., especially women of color, are experiencing adverse outcomes related to pregnancy at increasing rates.1 Food is a basic human need and ensuring adequate nutrition during pregnancy is crucial. While a woman’s natural physiology and behaviors both impact birth outcomes, social and economic determinants also significantly influence maternal and fetal health. Food insecurity during pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight, gestational diabetes, iron deficiency, and maternal depression.2

To address the food insecurities and the maternal health disparities some of our members face, BCBSIL has collaborated with a meal delivery vendor, Sweet Potato Patch, to provide nutritious meals to women and children throughout the course of a woman’s pregnancy and into the first few months of postpartum.

For this program, we are identifying pregnant women who are BCCHP members, live in areas with disproportionately high newborn intensive care unit (NICU) rates and face food insecurity.

This program will provide pregnant women with: 

  • 10 meals a week for 11 months. Meals contain lean meats, fresh fruit and vegetables. Meals are designed by a registered dietician. 
  • Special Beginnings®. Women will be assigned a Special Beginnings care coordinator to help navigate the care system, identify additional resources, and provide childcare education. 
  • Food for other children in the home. The program also provides food for other children in the household between the ages of 5 and 17 years old.
  • Free. All services, food and delivery are free of charge.

If you know of pregnant BCCHP members who qualify for this program, call our Special Beginnings care coordination line at 888-421-7781.

1Chicago Department of Public Health, Maternal Morbidity Databook

2USC Center for Health Journalism, Many low-income pregnant women don't have enough to eat, despite food programs, June 18, 2018.

The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. References to third party sources or organizations are not a representation, warranty or endorsement of such organizations. Any questions regarding those organizations should be addressed to them directly. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.