“Medicaid Expansion Associated With Some Improvements in Perinatal Mental Health” with Claire Margerison, Robert Kaestner, Sidra Goldman-Mellor, and Danielle Gartner. Health Affairs, (link).
Poor perinatal mental health is a common pregnancy-related morbidity with potentially serious impacts that extend beyond the individual to their families. A possible contributing factor to poor perinatal mental health is discontinuity in health insurance coveragem which is particularly important among low-income individuals. We examined impacts of Medicaid expansion on pre-pregnancy depression screening and self-reported depression and postpartum depressive symptoms and wellbeing among low-income individuals giving birth. Medicaid expansion was associated with a 16% decline in self-reported pre-pregnancy depression but was not associated with postpartum depressive symptoms or wellbeing. Associations between Medicaid expansion and pre-pregnancy mental health measures increased with time since expansion. Expanding health insurance to low-income individuals prior to pregnancy may improve perinatal mental health.
"Postpartum Medicaid Eligibility Expansions and Postpartum Health Measures" with Claire Margerison (forthcoming, Population Health Management) (link)
Maternal mortality and morbidity in the US are high compared to similar countries, and racial disparities exist, with many of these events occurring in the later postpartum period. Proposed federal and recently enacted state policy interventions extend pregnancy Medicaid from covering 60 days to a full year postpartum. We estimate the association between maintaining Medicaid eligibility in the later postpartum period (relative to only having pregnancy Medicaid eligibility) with postpartum checkup attendance and depressive symptoms using regression analysis, overall and stratified by race/ethnicity. People with postpartum Medicaid eligibility were 1.0-1.4% more likely to attend a postpartum checkup relative to those with only pregnancy Medicaid eligibility overall, primarily driven by a 3.8-4.0% higher likelihood among Hispanic postpartum people. Conversely, postpartum Medicaid is associated with a 2.2-2.3% lower likelihood of postpartum checkup attendance for Black postpartum people. Postpartum eligibility is also associated with a 9.7-11.6% lower likelihood of self-reported depressive symptoms compared to only pregnancy Medicaid eligibility for white postpartum people only. Postpartum Medicaid eligibility is associated with some improvements in maternal healthcare utilization and mental health, but differences by race and ethnicity imply that inequitable systems and structures that cannot be overcome by insurance alone may also play an important role in postpartum health.