Lawmakers pitch expanded doula coverage in Medicaid

Rylee Wilson – Becker’s Payer Issues

Federal lawmakers are proposing allowing Medicaid reimbursement of doulas and midwives in every state.

Doula coverage varies by state. As of February, 13 states provide doula coverage through their Medicaid programs and another 12 are in the process of implementing coverage, according to a report from the Elevance Health Public Policy Institute.

Sens. Bob Casey, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker introduced the Mamas First Act, according to a May 9 news release. Several representatives introduced companion legislation in the House.

The legislation would require states to provide Medicaid reimbursement for doula and midwife care during birth, and during prenatal and postnatal care. Research has shown doula care can improve maternal health outcomes.

Patients who received doula care were less likely to have a cesarean section than those who did not, according to the Elevance Health Public Policy Institute. Those who received doula services also were more likely to attend postpartum appointments and less likely to develop postpartum depression or anxiety than those without doulas.