Maternal health startup Maven Health has landed a $90 million Series E amid increasing investor focus on women’s health, the company announced Monday. One major impetus driving the funding round is Maven’s desire to move further into Medicaid, Chief Medical Officer Neel Shah told Healthcare Dive at HLTH.
The New York-based startup, which offers services for fertility, adoption, menopause and more through employers, only recently began serving Medicaid patients. But Maven is planning on using the infusion of cash to develop and scale maternal health models for low-income Americans on Medicaid, according to the CMO.
Maven faces roadblocks like a heterogenous patient population, shifting requirements state-by-state and historically low margins in Medicaid. But the program represents a large total addressable market for Maven. Nearly two out of every three adult women enrolled in Medicaid are in their reproductive years, and nearly half of births in the U.S. are paid for by Medicaid.
But despite the preponderance of birthing people in the program, it has grim maternal health outcomes. In 2017, the infant mortality rate for deliveries paid for by Medicaid was 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 4.3 deaths for deliveries paid for by private insurance, according to government data.
Maven plans to build out its Medicaid pilot program in Arkansas, Shah, who joined Maven as CMO a year and a half ago, said.
“When I think about who the most vulnerable person in America is, it's probably the pregnant Black woman in the Delta of Arkansas. So the idea of deploying this capability to serve that population is very compelling,” Shah said.
Maven launched the pilot one year ago, and plans to continue it into 2023. The goal is to create a highly reliable care model for Medicaid mothers, with flexibility on the basis of clinical needs or lived experiences, according to the CMO. For example, Maven has found its Black members are 50% more likely to use a doula, while 80% of its members choose to match with a provider on the basis of their identity.
“The initial pilot is going extremely well,” Shah said. “I’m excited to expand to more places.”
Maven plans to be measured with the pilot’s expansion. Medicaid represents a significant opportunity for Maven, but its population and their needs vary greatly by geography. As a result, Maven will have to tailor its Medicaid programs to the specifics of any markets it enters, while ensuring it retains the trust of patients.
“The people who need our help the most are very disenfranchised. And so I want to be really confident about what we’re building for that before we bring it to scale. The existential crisis for our healthcare system is that it’s not trustworthy to them,” Shah said.
Additional Medicaid expansion requires “a more localized approach, which must be more deliberate,” Maven CEO Kate Ryder wrote in a blog post on the raise, “but particularly in the aftermath of Roe, the need has never been greater.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year has increased the spotlight on women’s health. Maven has seen business spike as a result. Demand for the startup’s services increased 67% in the six weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision, Shah said.
Maven also plans to use the funding to address the health needs of older women, build its global family benefits product and work to make fertility more value-based, according to the CMO. Family benefits will build off Maven’s virtual platform that it grew during COVID-19, and will include new features for its financial reimbursement platform, called Maven Wallet.
The influx of funding brings Maven’s total capital raised to $300 million and its valuation to $1.35 billion. The round was led by General Catalyst, with participation from CVS Health Ventures, Intermountain Ventures and others.
Despite the rising interest in women’s health, it continues to be an underfunded market. Last year, funding for the sector jumped to $2.4 billion globally during the digital health boom, but that has declined to $1.3 billion this year, according to Pitchbook data.
Maven now reaches 15 million members, up five times from last year, across more than 450 corporate clients and payers in more than 175 countries.