Volume 56 | Number 4 | August 2021

Abstract List

Caroline K. Geiger BA, Benjamin D. Sommers M.D., Ph.D., Summer S. Hawkins PhD MS, Jessica L. Cohen PhD


To assess the relationship between recent changes in Medicaid eligibility and preconception insurance coverage, pregnancy intention, health care use, and risk factors for poor birth outcomes among first‐time parents.

Data Source

This study used individual‐level data from the national Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (2006‐2017), which surveys individuals who recently gave birth in the United States on their experiences before, during, and after pregnancy.

Study Design

Outcomes included preconception insurance status, pregnancy intention, stress from bills, early prenatal care, and diagnoses of high blood pressure and diabetes. Outcomes were regressed on an index measuring Medicaid generosity, which captures the fraction of female‐identifying individuals who would be eligible for Medicaid based on state income eligibility thresholds, in each state and year.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

The sample included all individuals aged 20‐44 with a first live birth in 2009‐2017.

Principal Findings

Among all first‐time parents, a 10‐percentage point (ppt) increase in Medicaid generosity was associated with a 0.7 ppt increase ( = 0.017) in any insurance coverage and a 1.5 ppt increase ( < 0.001) in Medicaid coverage in the month before pregnancy. We also observed significant increases in insurance coverage and early prenatal care and declines in stress from bills and unintended pregnancies among individuals with a high‐school degree or less.


Increasing Medicaid generosity for childless adults has the potential to improve insurance coverage in the critical period before pregnancy and help improve maternal outcomes among first‐time parents.