Nearly 90% of Texas women whose pregnancies were covered by public insurance were uninsured at some point in the first year after death, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. childbirth. This phenomenon of “insurance churn” can leave women with limited access to care when they need it.
In the new study, which was selected as an Editor’s Choice for the March/April issue of Women’s health issues, the authors followed 1,498 postpartum Texan women whose pregnancies were covered by public insurance. The researchers, who are affiliated with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), found that many women were losing insurance coverage and had difficulty getting care for a range of health conditions.
“Discussions about postpartum health care need to focus on the big picture,” said Lauren Thaxton, assistant professor of women’s health at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and researcher at TxPEP. . “Stable insurance coverage throughout a person’s life, including the crucial periods before, during and in the year following childbirth, can improve overall health and well-being and enable everyone issue to be resolved by a vendor before it becomes critical.”
The researchers used data from the Texas Postpartum Contraception Study, which recruited women who gave birth with Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage at one of eight participating hospitals in Texas between 2014 and 2016. They examined responses to surveys administered at three, six and 12 months postpartum. They found that 77% of participants were uninsured three months after giving birth and most had not acquired coverage by the end of the year.
Participants’ responses to the survey’s open-ended questions indicated a variety of health issues in the postpartum period and barriers to care, the authors reported. Conditions described by the uninsured women included unexplained gallstones, vomiting and headaches, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. “If the end result of insurance rollover is that low-income women living with chronic conditions only have access to treatment when they are pregnant, postpartum women may experience serious (and preventable) complications” , wrote lead author Elizabeth Ela and her co-authors.
“This study makes an important contribution not only by documenting postpartum insurance loss, but by reporting on the kinds of health needs that such insurance loss can make it difficult to address,” said Amita Vyas, editor in boss of Women’s health issues and Associate Professor of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute SPH.
Women’s health issues is the official journal of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, which is based in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at George Washington University.