Early pre-natal care is one of the most important keys to having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. However, not having insurance, whether Medicaid or private insurance, is a major hindrance to getting in to see a doctor. Paying out of pocket is just out of the question for many.
Until recently, women had to get a pregnancy test at a doctor’s office in order to qualify for Medicaid and get in to see a doctor for their prenatal care. An inexpensive home test just wouldn’t do. This meant that many women would delay getting essential early prenatal care that can detect many problems before they get serious, because it just cost too much to go see a doctor. But since January 2014, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when a woman determines that she is pregnant, she can simply state that she is pregnant (provide “self-attestation”) and she can enroll in Medicaid through the Family Support Division, providing that she meets the other qualifications.
Mother & Child Health Coalition (MCHC) believes that many of the staff with area health care providers are not aware of this change, and continue to tell women that they must obtain a doctor’s pregnancy test to apply for Medicaid benefits. They continue to believe that applicants will have to self-pay for this service, and for any visits completed before Medicaid benefits are obtained. However, the law states that in addition to taking the woman’s word for her pregnancy, she may also request coverage for any expenses she incurred for the pregnancy during the three months before she applied for Medicaid coverage. This is very good news, and will result in many more women receiving adequate pre-natal care, and having healthier pregnancies.
Please inform everyone in your practice, or other health-care setting of this change, and help get more women in for early pre-natal care, so that every baby has the chance to reach his or her first birthday.