Analysis of State Medicaid Expansion and Access to Timely Prenatal Care Among Women Who Were Immigrant vs US Born

Teresa Janevic, Ellerie Weber, Frances M. Howell, Morgan Steelman, Mahima Krishnamoorthi, Ashley Fox

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Importance: Disparities exist in access to timely prenatal care between immigrant women and US-born women. Exclusions from Medicaid eligibility based on immigration status may exacerbate disparities. Objective: To examine changes in timely prenatal care by nativity after Medicaid expansion. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional difference-in-differences (DID) and triple-difference analysis of 22042624 singleton births from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2019, in 31 states was conducted using US natality data. Data analysis was performed from February 1, 2021, to August 24, 2022. Exposures: Within 16 states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, the rate of timely prenatal care by nativity in years after expansion was compared with the rate in the years before expansion. Similar comparisons were conducted in 15 states that did not expand Medicaid and tested across expansion vs nonexpansion states. Main Outcomes and Measures: Timely prenatal care was categorized as prenatal care initiated in the first trimester. Individual-level covariates included age, parity, race and ethnicity, and educational level. State-level time-varying covariates included unemployment, poverty, and Immigrant Climate Index. Results: A total of 5390814 women preexpansion and 6544992 women postexpansion were included. At baseline in expansion states, among immigrant women, 413479 (27.3%) were Asian, 110829 (7.3%) were Black, 752176 (49.6%) were Hispanic, and 238746 (15.8%) were White. Among US-born women, 96807 (2.5%) were Asian, 470128 (12.1%) were Black, 699776 (18.1%) were Hispanic, and 2608873 (67.3%) were White. Prenatal care was timely in 75.9% of immigrant women vs 79.9% of those who were US born in expansion states at baseline. After Medicaid expansion, the immigrant vs US-born disparity in timely prenatal care was similar to the preexpansion level (DID, -0.91; 95% CI, -1.91 to 0.09). Stratifying by race and ethnicity showed an increase in the Asian vs White disparity after expansion, with 1.53 per 100 fewer immigrant women than those who were US born accessing timely prenatal care (95% CI, -2.31 to -0.75), and in the Hispanic vs White disparity (DID, -1.18 per 100; 95% CI, -2.07 to -0.30). These differences were more pronounced among women with a high school education or less (DID for Asian women, -2.98; 95% CI, -4.45 to -1.51; DID for Hispanic women, -1.47; 95% CI, -2.48 to -0.46). Compared with nonexpansion states, differences in DID estimates were found among Hispanic women with a high school education or less (triple-difference, -1.86 per 100 additional women in expansion states who would not receive timely prenatal care; 95% CI, -3.31 to -0.42). Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this study suggest that exclusions from Medicaid eligibility based on immigration status may be associated with increased health care disparities among some immigrant groups. This finding has relevance to current policy debates regarding Medicaid coverage during and outside of pregnancy..

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2239264
Pages (from-to)E2239264
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number10
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2022


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