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Uninsurance for Poor New Moms Down With ACA Medicaid Expansion

Increase in Medicaid eligibility linked to reduction in uninsurance and increase in Medicaid coverage

THURSDAY, April 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Among new mothers living in poverty, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion was associated with a reduction in uninsurance and increased Medicaid coverage, according to a study published online April 15 in Pediatrics.

Emily M. Johnston, Ph.D., from the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined the impact of ACA Medicaid expansions on insurance coverage among new mothers living in poverty, who were defined as women aged 19 to 44 years with incomes below the federal poverty level who reported giving birth in the past 12 months.

The researchers found that among new mothers living in poverty, a 100 percentage-point increase in parental Medicaid eligibility was associated with an 8.8 percentage-point decrease in uninsurance and with a 13.2 percentage-point increase and a 4.4 percentage-point decrease in Medicaid coverage and in private or other coverage, respectively. Among poor new mothers in expansion states, the average increase in Medicaid eligibility was associated with a 28 percent decrease in uninsurance, a 13 percent increase in Medicaid coverage, and an 18 percent decrease in private or other insurance. About 142,000 new mothers living in poverty remained uninsured in 2017.

“Ensuring that new mothers living in poverty have insurance coverage has the potential to help women access and afford necessary physical and mental health care, reduce stress and financial hardship, and improve the health and well-being of their entire family,” the authors write.

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