WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medicaid programs cover a higher proportion of preterm births than private insurance plans, according to a new study from researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and the March of Dimes. The study comes out as the nation observes the 13 th annual Prematurity Awareness Month.
The study, published in the Journal of Children and Poverty, examined births in the years 2010-2013, coinciding both with passage of the Affordable Care Act and the availability of payment source data on most states' birth certificates in 2010. In the four-year pooled data set, Medicaid and private insurance covered 48.8% and 42.1% of all preterm births respectively. This took place in spite of the fact that private insurance covered more births overall than Medicaid. In addition, Medicaid covered a higher percentage of all very/moderately preterm (50.3% vs. 40.6%) and all late preterm births (48.3% vs. 43.0%). The study also examined factors that appeared to increase the risk of a preterm birth for women covered by Medicaid. Compared with women who had experienced privately covered preterm births, women who had experienced Medicaid-covered preterm births were more likely to be young (age 12-19), unmarried, black or Hispanic, underweight, and smoking cigarettes during pregnancy. They were also more likely to have less than a high school degree, to have foregone any prenatal care, to have had a prior preterm birth, and to have experienced too short a pregnancy interval between births. In contrast, women who had a privately covered preterm birth were more likely than women who had experienced a Medicaid-covered preterm birth to be white, to have a diagnosis of diabetes, to have eclampsia, and to have undergone a cesarean delivery or infertility treatment.