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Aetna Better Health® of Illinois and Mae Health announce partnership to give members access to local doulas for pregnancy and postpartum health support

December 18, 2023 |3 minute read time

Pregnant woman sitting with a friend

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Dec. 18, 2023 — Aetna Better Health® of Illinois announced a new partnership with digital health platform Mae Health (“Mae”) to support the maternal health needs of its underserved pregnant and postpartum members in Cook and Kane counties.

Poor maternal health outcomes take an enormous physical and emotional toll on women and their families. On Chicago's South Side, only three hospitals offer maternity care, severely limiting residents' options. Black women in the state of Illinois are three times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes as compared to white women and Black infants have the highest infant mortality rate at just over 12 percent. In Chicago, Black women have a maternal mortality rate that is nearly six times higher than white women.

By connecting members with a local doula for virtual and in-person pregnancy and birth education, emotional support, advocacy, labor and delivery support, lactation support and guidance in postpartum, the partnership between Mae and Aetna aims to reduce the disproportionate pregnancy-related deaths and complications among those at highest risk.

Through Mae’s digital health platform, new mothers are matched with a certified, community-based doula whose services are fully covered by Aetna. Members are supported and engaged in their prenatal care early and that engagement continues throughout their birth and postpartum period. Doula services, like those included in Mae’s solution, have proven to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce complications.

“Maternal health equity is a critical issue that affects the well-being of both mothers and babies,” said Lakshmi Emory, MD, MPH - Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “Aetna is invested in improving maternal health outcomes to increase positive long-term health benefits for our moms and babies. Partnering with Mae provides key benefits to our members and gives them access to quality care we know is proven to increase prenatal visits and reduce NICU deliveries, low birth weight rates and maternal deaths during the peripartum period.”

"Towards our collective goal of reducing maternal health disparities and helping mothers achieve the pregnancy experiences and outcomes they deserve, Mae is thrilled to partner with Aetna Better Health of Illinois to drive higher utilization of clinically established digital and community-based supports to their members," said Maya Hardigan, Founder and CEO of Mae. "We know existing barriers to care impact not only the birthing person, but their children, families, and broader communities, and we are eager to partner on this work to fundamentally redefine the experience of those we serve.”

Mae’s digital health platform centers and empowers the pregnant person throughout all stages of pregnancy. The platform provides expectant and new mothers with symptom tracking, real-time issue escalation support, personalized care, culturally congruent resources and interactive education. 

Aetna Better Health® of Illinois members who would like more information about how to access Mae’s services can contact Member Services at 1-866-329-4701 (TTY: 711) or visit or JoinMae/ to learn more.


About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of under-resourced populations, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve members in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that's managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

About Mae

Mae is a digital health solution on a mission to improve the health and quality of life for underserved mothers, babies, and those who love them. Mas has created a space where complete digital pregnancy care meets culturally congruent, on-the-ground doula support. Mae addresses access gaps and bolsters physical and emotional well-being through continuous engagement, risk assessment, early symptom awareness, and a community-led support model. In addressing whole-person care and focusing on self-advocacy, education, and community, Mae seeks to improve outcomes and experiences for pregnant people, while reducing clinical costs of care, at impactful scale.

For more information about Mae, please visit,, and @maehealthinc on IG.

Media contact

Robert Joyce

Rachel Nance Wade

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