An advisory panel has urged Congress to make sure pregnant women do not fall through the cracks of Medicaid and subsidized private coverage under the healthcare reform law.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission issued seven recommendations affecting low-income women and children in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program both in states that expand Medicaid to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level and those that do not.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows states to retain their current, limited Medicaid benefits for pregnant women, even if they extend comprehensive Medicaid benefits to other low-income adults. This has created a situation where women earning above 138% of poverty who would qualify for federal premium subsidies to help them buy private coverage under Obamacare no longer are eligible for the subsidies once they become pregnant. That's because the state Medicaid program may provide limited benefits to pregnant women earning up to 200% of poverty, and adults eligible for Medicaid do not qualify for premium subsidies.
MACPAC is urging that Congress require states to provide the same comprehensive benefits to pregnant women who are eligible for Medicaid on the basis of their pregnancy that are furnished to women whose Medicaid eligibility is based on their status as parents of dependent children.