State Medicaid Expansions for Parents Led to Increased Coverage and Prenatal Care Utilization among Pregnant Mothers.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate impacts of state Medicaid expansions for low-income parents on the health insurance coverage, pregnancy intention, and use of prenatal care among mothers who became pregnant.

DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING

Person-level data for women with a live birth from the 1997-2012 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS

The sample was restricted to women who were already parents using information on previous live births and combined with information on state Medicaid policies for low-income parents.

STUDY DESIGN

I used a measure of expanded generosity of state Medicaid eligibility for low-income parents to estimate changes in health insurance, pregnancy intention, and prenatal care for pregnant mothers associated with Medicaid expansion.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS

I found an increase in prepregnancy health insurance coverage and coverage during pregnancy among pregnant mothers, as well as earlier initiation of prenatal care, associated with the expansions. Among pregnant mothers with less education, I found an increase in the adequacy of prenatal care utilization.

CONCLUSIONS

Expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults has the potential to increase a woman's health insurance coverage prior to pregnancy, as well as her insurance coverage and medical care receipt during pregnancy.

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