Routes to Success for Medicaid Coverage of Doula Care: An Issue Brief

The Issue

Racism and racial bias in health care have helped contribute to what is now coming to be understood as a national crisis of maternal deaths for women of color, in particular, Black and Indigenous/American Indian women. The statistics are shocking: Black women are three to four times as likely as white women to die during labor and the maternal period. Notably, these racial disparities in maternal mortality rates exist across all levels of income, age, and education.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that doulas can help reduce the impacts of racism on pregnant women of color by helping to provide culturally appropriate, patient-centered care. Doula care would seem to be a natural fit for underserved populations such as women of color, immigrant women, and low-income women, who experience among the worst maternal health and birth outcomes. Yet these women can ill afford to pay out of pocket for doula care. Private insurance rarely covers doula care, and presently only two states, Minnesota and Oregon, provide doula care for their Medicaid enrollees.

We are proud to have partnered with National Health Law Program to co-author an issue brief which lays out barriers to Medicaid coverage for doula care as well as proposes potential recommendations for successful implementation. 


Read the Executive Summary


Please contact Amy Chen, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Health Law Program at [email protected]