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Published:June 3rd, 2006 05:14 EST
HHS Approves Texas Plan to Expand Coverage to More Pregnant Women

HHS Approves Texas Plan to Expand Coverage to More Pregnant Women

By SOP newswire

More low-income pregnant women living in Texas will have access to critical prenatal care the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today. The State of Texas estimates that 66,916 pregnant women will receive prenatal health care under this expansion of its State Children`s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

The State requested an expansion of coverage to pregnant women in families with incomes up to twice the federal poverty level. Texas currently covers children from birth to age 19 with family incomes of twice the poverty level. The federal poverty level for an individual for 2006 is $9,800 and $20,000 for a family of four. Today`s approval expands that coverage to include prenatal care for the woman and her unborn child.

This new coverage will give Texas children a healthier start by providing access to prenatal care, " Secretary Leavitt said. Prenatal care is an important way to prevent many health problems that can be permanently disabling. "

Under a 2003 regulation, states can offer health coverage to pregnant women without having to request an SCHIP waiver. This allows states to implement the changes more quickly and expand coverage to children who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP coverage only after they are born. Low-income pregnant women also may be eligible to receive prenatal services through the Medicaid program.

Prenatal care is one of the most effective ways to prevent low birth weight, premature delivery and other health problems, " said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. Nine states have now expanded prenatal care services to more women and we are ready to work with other states on similar programs to improve maternal and child health. "

Texas is the ninth state to adopt this policy. Other states include: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington.

Source: HHS

Contact: CMS Public Affairs
(202) 690-6145