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Maryland will soon cover pregnant, noncitizen resident healthcare

FILE - The toes of a baby are seen DHR Health, July 29, 2020, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Eric Gay/AP
FILE - The toes of a baby are seen DHR Health, July 29, 2020, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Pregnant, noncitizen residents of Maryland will soon be able to get free comprehensive health coverage if they meet certain financial criteria.

Starting July 1, the Healthy Babies Equity Act goes into effect, giving medical coverage to pregnant people who would be eligible for Medicaid or the Maryland Children’s Health Program, were it not for their immigration status.

The law provides coverage up to four months after pregnancy.

Maryland joins at least 17 other states providing coverage to undocumented people who are pregnant.

People who make up to 250% of the federal poverty line can receive the coverage.

Maryland estimates there are about 6,000 noncitizen pregnant people who are eligible for care in the state.

To sign up, residents can go to the Maryland Health Connection website.

Maryland already pays for labor and delivery costs, as well as healthcare for children up to a year old.

Costs to the state still aren’t fully clear since Maryland will receive more federal funding, 65%, for the people who register.

However, there is a strong body of evidence that shows care for people who are pregnant betters the health of the child and mother.

“Expanding prenatal Medicaid eligibility to undocumented immigrants may have a significant impact on the health and economic outcomes of the next generation of Americans,” states a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan research organization focused on economic analysis.

The study goes on to state that children who are covered under similar plans show higher birthweights and longer gestational age.

Scott is the Health Reporter for WYPR. @smaucionewypr
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