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FSSA No Longer Paying For Early Elective Deliveries

The state will not fund births that are typically covered under Medicaid dollars if mothers opt for an elective delivery prior to 39 weeks.

baby

Photo: Alec Couros (Flickr)

Beginning July 1, mothers must carry their children to at least 39 weeks unless they have medical reasons for an early delivery if they want to receive Medicaid funds.

Pregnant women choosing to schedule their childbirths prior to the full 39 weeks won’t get those births covered by Indiana’s Medicaid program anymore, according to a new policy the Family and Social Services Administration announced today.

The new policy, which goes into effect July 1, is meant to help reduce the state’s infant mortality rate.

Indiana has the sixth worst infant mortality rate in the country at nearly eight deaths for every 1,000 births, which state health officials say is caused by smoking, obesity and early elective deliveries.

“If there’s not a medical indication to go early, you want that baby to go 39 weeks,” Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. William Van Ness says. “Then the baby’s lungs are mature, their heart’s matured enough, their brain is, they’re able to survive without oxygen.”

Half of all births in Indiana are covered by Medicaid, and Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser says about 15 Medicaid births per month are early and elective.

He says while improving the health of infants is the most important goal, the new policy will also have other benefits:

“It’s also going to save Indiana Medicaid some money from the cost of pre-term births, which is much higher than a healthy, normal delivery,” Moser says.

VanNess says as part of Indiana’s push to reduce infant mortality, the state has encouraged insurance company Anthem to follow the state’s lead and end support for early, elective births.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Bob Eckert

    If Indiana had taken the Medicaid monies they were offered under the ACA, this action would -NOT- be necessary. So know, because of total Republican control, they will begin chipping away at benefits offered if you qualify for Medicaid. I predict they will further restrict access to nursing homes for people who have no other alternative but to impoverish themselves because their health conditions require 24 hour skilled nursing care and they cannot live at home on their own anymore. What will happen to those people? Medicare does NOT cover long-term nursing home care. They will die long before their time. Remember how the Republicans said there would be “death panels” deciding who would live and die under the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, it is the Republicans who are acting as “death panels” by refusing Medicaid money from the federal government and removing coverage under Medicaid.

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