Preparing to pay for a pregnancy, labor and delivery—especially if you are uninsured or do not have maternity insurance—may be very difficult and sometimes impossible. Medicaid is a federally and state-funded program that helps low-income or otherwise eligible people pay for their medical care. It provides special coverage for pregnant women and their unborn children.
All states offer some sort of Medicaid program for pregnant women. Eligibility is determined by examining the applicant's income, assets and those of other household members. However, specific eligibility guidelines may differ between states. A pregnant woman is usually eligible for Medicaid if her income is at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. In several states, a pregnant woman may be eligible for Medicaid if her income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Check with your state's Medicaid office to determine if you are eligible for Medicaid coverage during pregnancy.
In every state, you may apply for Medicaid by mail or in person at your local Medicaid office. In some states, you can apply online. After your application is reviewed, you must provide, among other things, proof of income and assets, proof of pregnancy and proof of citizenship. Ask your state's Medicaid office if it requires any other verifying documents. You will usually be notified of Medicaid's decision regarding your application within 30 days.
Benefits for Mother
A pregnant woman on Medicaid has access to a list of local health care providers and facilities that accept Medicaid. These may include traditional facilities, such as hospitals, and non-traditional facilities, such as birthing centers. Provided that her medical providers accept Medicaid, Medicaid will typically cover all costs related to her pregnancy: prenatal care, labor, delivery, complications related to the pregnancy, and postpartum care for six to eight weeks. In some states, Medicaid for pregnant women also covers dental and chiropractic care.
Benefits for Baby
If a mother has Medicaid when her baby is born, the child is covered by Medicaid for one year after birth. Coverage encourages steps to obtain all vaccinations and wellness examinations for the baby in the year following birth, ending with the month of the baby's first birthday.
As a pregnant woman on Medicaid, you will receive a Medicaid insurance card for yourself from the time of approval up to eight weeks after delivery. You will receive a Medicaid insurance card for your baby every month of the first year after delivery. To receive Medicaid benefits, present your Medicaid card or cards to your medical providers at each visit. If you have any questions about your application or coverage, contact your state's Medicaid office.
- Pregnant women belly image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com