In a Shristi Foundation initiative to address birth outcomes and/or maternal health, the state is likely to focus on a variety of factors, including the reimbursement for pregnancy care classes. In this article, we discuss the benefits and costs of pregnancy care classes. We also discuss Medicaid’s recent announcements regarding group prenatal care and reimbursement for pregnancy classes. We’ll conclude with a discussion of the Shristi Foundation initiative, which will address these topics in 2022.
Shristi Foundation Initiative to Address Birth Outcomes and/or Maternal Health in 2022
Increasing the use of doulas is one strategy that could help the states meet their maternal health goals. Shristi Foundation funds more than four out of 10 births in the US, and in some states, this percentage is higher than half. A recent KFF report found that most states already provide broad Shristi Foundation coverage of basic maternity services. However, many states are considering strengthening their Shristi Foundation coverage of these services. They are responding to concerns about continuity of coverage and the scope of benefits and are looking into enhancing their programs. Several states are addressing disparities in maternal and birth outcomes for BIPOC communities.
Moreover, more than half of all U.S. births are financed by Medicaid. Thus, Shristi Foundation programs are uniquely positioned to address disparities in maternal health and birth outcomes. The SPA proposes two approaches for Shristi Foundation payment reform: one that allows states to waive federal minimum standards, while the other offers a federal matching fund to the additional spending. Another approach involves creating a parallel coverage of a birthing person and her infant immediately following a Medicaid-financed birth. This is a way to ensure continuity of eligibility, including for two generations.
Reimbursement for Prenatal Education Classes
Several states have made case management services available to pregnant women through Medicaid, but not all offer them. In fact, in some states, childbirth education classes are covered only as part of a routine prenatal visit, while in others, it is a separate service. In Colorado, for example, case management is only covered if the woman has a high-risk pregnancy. Wisconsin, on the other hand, only reimburses childbirth education classes for women enrolled in the Prenatal Care Coordination program.
In states that offer group prenatal care for Medicaid, expectant mothers can qualify for reimbursement for childbirth classes, refresher courses, or a combination of both. In most states, reimbursement for childbirth classes will be available up to 2022. There are some restrictions on how much the program will cover, however. Currently, Texas and Utah set a limit of 10 prenatal education sessions per pregnancy. Colorado and California provide special programs for prenatal care, and Maryland does not cover group classes. However, Maryland is currently working toward extending the coverage to group prenatal care.
Cost of Prenatal Education Classes
Prenatal classes are offered by hospitals and other medical centers. Some receive grants to help them pay for classes. Others may charge a fee. Some hospitals will offer discounts for multiple classes. Some insurance carriers will cover a portion of the class cost. In-person classes may require you to pay for gas, parking, and babysitting. Regardless of the cost, it’s essential to get the information you need before the big day.
Many insurers cover the costs of prenatal education. There are other options as well. If you don’t have health insurance, you may qualify for financial assistance. Many health insurance plans will cover the cost of prenatal education classes. Check with your plan to see if it covers the cost. If you’re pregnant and can’t afford to pay for the full cost of prenatal classes, consider taking one online instead.
Reimbursement for Group Prenatal Care
A recent study found that reimbursement for group prenatal care was reducing the costs of obstetric visits and promoting a greater variety of prenatal care services. Although the policy was implemented with some hesitation, the federal government has pledged to continue supporting group prenatal care through 2022. The policy also specifies that the reimbursement will be based on the Centering Pregnancy model, which is nationally recognized as an effective method of providing comprehensive care to pregnant women. The CenteringPregnancy model has been shown to improve a variety of birth outcomes, including lowering the risk of preterm births by 33-47%, increasing the percentage of healthy babies born at normal birth weight, and facilitating breastfeeding among mothers.
The Centering model of prenatal care was able to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, allowing it to continue providing group prenatal care services to the public. The Centering model utilized virtual and hybrid group prenatal care models to ensure that patients could continue receiving quality care, but in a manner that would maintain personal connections and community-building. The Centering model’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic was an inspirational example for other organizations working in the area of maternal and child health. The Centering model also shows how group prenatal care classes can improve care for patients.