Sendero Health Plans Tackles Diaper Disparity with Free Diapers for Members

Low-income mothers in Central Texas can now get disposable diapers free under a new test program announced in Austin by President Obama. The program is offered to families insured by TAHP member Sendero Health Plans, a nonprofit Austin-based health insurance company.

The president, speaking at South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March, called the problem the “diaper divide,” explaining that while most Americans today can save on diapers by buying them online, many low-income mothers cannot. The result is that they struggle to afford enough disposable diapers, which can cost nearly a thousand dollars a year per child, up to 14 percent of their entire incomes.

Of particular concern to Sendero Health Plans are the potential health issues related to not having enough clean diapers. Dr. Ted Held, MD, Director of Reproductive Health at People’s Community Clinic said, “An infant uses about 240 diapers a month, and if parents cannot afford enough, they may tend to change them less often. That can lead to urinary tract and staph infections, sometimes requiring hospitalization.  People’s is proud to partner with Sendero to offer this program to the community.”

According to the White House, some researchers also believe the lack of enough diapers is a leading cause of mental health problems among new mothers. “By providing the free diapers, our health plan hopes to help keep its members healthy,” said Wes Durkalski, President and CEO of Sendero Health Plans. Durkalski added that “the diaper disparity program is just one of the many exciting health initiatives that Sendero Health Plans has created for the benefit of the community.”

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