HealthDay News — From 2013 to 2018, financial hardship was common among peripartum women, including 24 percent who reported unmet heath care needs, according to a study published online Oct. 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Kathryn Taylor, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the prevalence of financial hardship in a cross-sectional study involving women aged 18 to 45 years who reported being currently pregnant or pregnant in the previous 12 months and participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 2013 to 2018. Data were included for 3,509 peripartum women, weighted to represent 1,050,789 women.

The researchers found that 24.2, 60.0, and 54.0 percent of peripartum women reported unmet health care needs, health care unaffordability, and general financial stress from 2013 to 2018. There was no substantial change in the prevalence of financial hardship outcomes between 2013 and 2018 (unmet health care need: 27.9 to 23.7 percent; health care unaffordability: 65.7 to 58.8 percent; general financial stress: 60.6 to 53.8 percent). Compared with women with public insurance, those with private insurance had lower odds of unmet needs (adjusted odds ratio, 0.67) and higher odds of health care affordability (adjusted odds ratio, 1.88).


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“As the future of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion continues to be debated, ensuring continuous insurance for the peripartum population and reducing cost-sharing to improve access to essential perinatal services are critical,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to industry, including medical technology, pharmaceutical, and health insurance companies.

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