New Study Examines Early Elective Newborn Deliveries in 22 State Medicaid Programs
Early elective deliveries can lead to poor health outcomes for both women and their newborns, while generating additional costs for patients and insurance providers, according to results of a new AHRQ-funded study that examined the incidence of early elective deliveries in 22 State Medicaid programs. Medicaid pays for up to 48 percent of all births in the United States each year. Early elective deliveries are non-medically indicated labor inductions or cesarean deliveries of infants with a confirmed gestational age of less than 39 weeks. The 22 states that participated in the project provided data on elective deliveries in the period 2010–2012. After finding that approximately 9 percent of Medicaid single births were early elective deliveries, researchers estimated that 160,000 early elective Medicaid deliveries nationwide occur each year. The study offers additional evidence and tools to further reduce the number of such deliveries. An article and abstract, “Early Elective Deliveries Accounted for Nearly 9 Percent of Births Paid for by Medicaid,” were published in the December 2014 issue of Health Affairs.