Over the past 50 years, Medicaid has claimed its place as a major source of health coverage for millions of low-income women at every stage of life. One in ten women relies on Medicaid for health coverage, including pregnancy-related care, family planning, screening for breast and cervical cancer, and long-term care services and supports.
Preventive care: Medicaid is key to helping low-income women gain access to the preventive services recommended for all women. For example, in 2013, just over half of uninsured women reported having had a Pap test, compared with three-fourths of women with private insurance or Medicaid.
Note: Data are from 2013. Provider visit and Pap test among women ages 18 to 64. Mammogram among women ages 40 to 64. *Indicates a statistically significant different from Medicaid, p<.05 SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation (2013) Kaiser Women’s Health Survey.
Maternity care: In response to high infant mortality rates, during the 1980s and early 1990s, the federal government gave states options to increase Medicaid income eligibility levels and also to reduce application and enrollment barriers. Eligible women enrolled, and the nation witnessed a decline in infant mortality and improved child health outcomes, results that are attributed to these expansions. Medicaid now covers nearly one-half of all births in the United States.
Family planning: Federal policies have also encouraged access to Medicaid family planning services.
Older women: Women make up 68% of seniors who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Since women are more likely than men to have chronic conditions, physical and cognitive disorders and live alone, Medicaid’s coverage of personal care and home and community-based services is of special importance.
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