Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, OBGYNE / 29.12.2017 Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39102" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Laura Wherry credit: UCLA Health Dr. Laura Wherry
credit: UCLA Health[/caption] Laura R. Wherry, Ph.D. Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90024 What is the background for this study? Response: All states provide Medicaid coverage to pregnant women, but many low-income women do not qualify for the program when they are not pregnant. However, state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income parents and adults allow low-income women to have Medicaid coverage prior to, and between, their pregnancies. Increased health insurance coverage for low-income women during these non-pregnancy periods may help improve their preconception health and their planning of pregnancies, ultimately leading to healthier pregnancies and infants. This study examines how state expansions in Medicaid coverage for low-income parents before the Affordable Care Act affected the health insurance status of mothers prior to additional pregnancies (i.e. their pre-pregnancy health insurance status). I also examine whether there are changes in pregnancy intention (i.e. whether the pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted), as better access to pre-pregnancy insurance coverage could increase contraception utilization and improve the planning of pregnancies. Finally, I examine whether there were changes in insurance coverage during pregnancy and in the utilization of prenatal care, since women who have pre-pregnancy insurance coverage may experience fewer barriers to establishing care during their pregnancies.