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Medicaid to offer doula services for giving birth

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:00 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Laundry dries in the sun on Carah Solemsaas’s deck. It’s all baby clothes That’s because Carah is a new mom.

At 25, she welcomed her baby Kaya about one month ago. She couldn’t have done it without the Medicaid program and a doula option.

“When you look at Medicaid as a program, I think there is a huge stigma that it is a certain type of person,” says Carah. “No matter what you are thinking too you just never know what a person’s situation is. And the fact that we have a program like this is pretty incredible,” she says. Carah says she had a great birthing experience all because of a doula service offered through a Medicaid pilot program.

Doulas are people who help provide information and guidance and advocacy during pregnancy. Because Carah was covered by Anthem, that service was paid for.

Doula Emily Barney says that’s not a common occurrence.

“I think this is the first step,” says Barney. “And moving forward, I hope that all insurances see the benefit. Because there truly is a benefit to their companies as well as a cost saving to their insurance companies. As well as a benefit to their beneficiaries,” she says.

But beginning January 1st insurance companies who provide Medicaid coverage here in Nevada will pay for doulas to patients who want them.

State lawmakers based their decisions in part on an Anthem Pilot Program of which Carah was a part. Anthem was the first insurance company in the silver state to offer such coverage to Medicaid patients.

“Anthem has tried to be in the forefront when it comes to health equity and benefitting recipients in their Medicaid programs,” says Karen Griffin with Anthem. “And this is just one additional way to do that,” she says.

Nevada is the fourth state in the country to require doula coverage to Medicaid patients.

Governor Sisolak signed the bill into law on June 2, 2021.

renodoulaproject@gmail.com

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