Ind. Medicaid To Stop Paying For Elective Early Births

Posted On May 06, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

baby-hand-finger-holding.jpg(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Starting July 1, Indiana’s Medicaid program will no longer pay the cost for some early or elective child births.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said the new Medicaid policy will not pay for hospital or physician services  for babies delivered prior to 39 weeks gestation, unless that birth occurs naturally or is not medically indicated.

Indiana, where about half of all births are covered by Medicaid, is the fourth state to implement such a policy.

“Babies born too small or too early are at greater risk for death in their first year of life,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess. “Babies’ brains develop significantly during the last two weeks of gestation, which is why it’s critically important to carry pregnancies full-term, unless medically necessary to induce sooner. This policy supports providing infants with the best chance to grow into healthy children.”

The Indiana Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative was created last year to address ongoing issues in perinatal care. It recommended the FSSA adopt the non-payment policy for some early births.

Currently, the FSSA is in the process of communicating the details of the policy – including a list of approved medical indications for a necessary early delivery – to medical providers statewide.

The Indiana Hospital Association reports that early elective deliveries now make up less than three percent of deliveries in Indiana, compared to 11 percent in 2012. In 2011, Indiana ranked sixth-highest in the nation in infant mortality with 7.7 of every 1,000 live births resulting in death of the baby.

“This action sends a strong and clear message that we will not tolerate dangerous and unnecessary early childbirths, which puts our newborns at risk and increases costs in Medicaid,” said Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser. “We are proud to make this contribution to the state’s efforts to reduce infant mortality.”