Big Changes for Pregnant Women

Some prenatal care charges no longer allowed.

By Lori Abbot California News Service

SACRAMENTO – The future of pregnant women in California and the rest of the nation significantly changed on Wednesday. Under the new health-care law, the Affordable Care Act, insurance providers and Medicaid are now required to cover clinical preventive services for women, including prenatal care, all without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or deductible.

Dr. Elliott Main, director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, says millions of women will gain access to health-care services.

“This is a big win for women in California. I think we should see improvements in outcomes for pregnancy and for inter-conceptual care.”

The new guidelines do not include maternity care. However, starting in 2014, all maternity care will be covered by all new individual, small business and government exchange plans.

The changes are being introduced as a wealth of data indicating that the number of mothers dying in America during or shortly after pregnancy is consistently growing.

Ahead of the federal health-insurance reform, several states already have been using funds provided by the federal government to improve pregnancy care. The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative has developed tool kits, protocols and recommendations for hospitals to tackle the leading causes of maternal death and morbidity.

“One of the challenges, though, is that there are a lot of very small hospitals with small numbers of births. California is actually not only a large state, but it has a lot of rural areas, and that is the challenge to reach all of the parts of this very large, grand state.”

At least two-thirds of California hospitals have adopted the tool kits.

For more information, go to www.womensenews.org. The print version of the Women’s eNews story can be found at womensenews.org.

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August 2, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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