Prenatal Care:

Early Success in Enrolling Women Made Eligible by Medicaid Expansions

PEMD-91-10: Published: Feb 11, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the participation of newly eligible pregnant women in the expanded Medicaid program and states' efforts to provide larger numbers of pregnant women with prenatal care and other maternal health services.

GAO found that: (1) in 1986 and 1987, Congress enacted several changes to Medicaid to broaden eligibility for uninsured pregnant women and to simplify the application process; (2) states' efforts to implement eligibility and application reforms included adopting presumptive and continuous eligibility, eliminating assets tests, shortening application forms, and establishing such outreach activities as outstations, telephone hotlines, and public service announcements; (3) most states enrolled between two-thirds and three-quarters of potentially eligible women within 2 years of implementation of the expansion policies, although some states enrolled little more than one-third of eligible women; (4) newly eligible enrollees were more likely than previously eligible women to come from two-parent, nonminority families and from families with at least one employed parent; and (5) states that simultaneously implemented presumptive eligibility and dropped assets tests experienced the most rapid growth in enrollment.

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