Insurance Churn and Postpartum Health among Texas Women with Births Covered by Medicaid/CHIP

Womens Health Issues. 2022 Mar-Apr;32(2):95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2021.11.002. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


Introduction: Insurance churn (changes in coverage) after childbirth is common in the United States, particularly in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage. Although insurance churn may have lasting consequences for health care access, most research has focused on the initial weeks after a birth.

Methods: We analyzed data from a cohort study of postpartum Texans with pregnancies covered by public insurance (n = 1,489). Women were recruited shortly after childbirth from eight hospitals in six cities, completing a baseline survey in the hospital and follow-up surveys at 3, 6, and 12 months. We assessed insurance trajectories, health care use, and health indicators over the 12 months after childbirth. We also conducted a content analysis of women's descriptions of postpartum health concerns.

Results: A majority of participants (64%) became uninsured within 3 months of the birth and remained uninsured for the duration of the study; 88% were uninsured at some point in the year after the birth. At 3 months postpartum, 17% rated their health as fair or poor, and 13% reported a negative change in their health after the 3-month survey. Women's open-ended responses described financial hardships and other difficulties accessing care for postpartum health issues, which included acute and ongoing conditions, undiagnosed concerns, pregnancy and reproductive health, mental health, and weight/lifestyle concerns.

Conclusions: Insurance churn was common among postpartum women with births covered by Medicaid/CHIP and prevented many women from receiving health care. To improve postpartum health and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, states should work to stabilize insurance coverage for women with low incomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Medicaid*
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology