Through their Medicaid programs, states may offer specialized pregnancy benefits to women that target risks contributing to poor pregnancy outcomes. Though such benefits are categorized as “optional” Medicaid services, they are seen by many as critical to optimizing maternal health and positive birth outcomes. These enhanced pregnancy benefits support women in having healthy pregnancies and contribute to improved infant and maternal health. Congress gave states the option to offer enhanced pregnancy benefits to pregnant women on Medicaid in 1985, and many states quickly took advantage of this opportunity, adding comprehensive non-clinical and medical pregnancy services to their Medicaid benefit packages. The use of enhanced pregnancy benefits peaked in 1993 when forty-four states provided at least one enhanced pregnancy benefit through Medicaid. Since then, the number of states offering Medicaid enhanced pregnancy benefits appears to have dipped and then rebounded nearly to 1993 levels.
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