California Medi-Cal will cover doulas – InsuranceNewsNet
Some supporters hailed the new perk by
Doulas initially criticized the state for offering one of the lowest fares in the country,
For some, that still won’t be enough in a state where the cost of living is high and the workload is limited by the unpredictability and length of doula work. Many doulas can only serve two or three clients a month because the job often requires them to be on call.
“I’m totally unimpressed,” said Samsarah Morgan, a doula from
The rate in other states that offer doula services through Medicaid is generally between
“We recognize the value of the work that doulas provide to mothers and infants, particularly the intensity of services and duration of doulas,” the state said.
Doulas act as coaches, guiding families through pregnancy and advocating for them in the hospital during labor and delivery, as well as the postpartum period. Doula services have been associated with better birth outcomes, such as lower rates of C-sections, more breastfeeding, and fewer babies born underweight.
Doulas also serve women undergoing abortions or miscarriages — something the Doula Advisory Group hopes the state will agree to cover in the future.
However, it is difficult to know how
many doulas work in
Advocates hope that adding doulas to covered Medi-Cal services could help reduce maternal mortality rates, especially for black mothers, who die due to childbirth at a rate nearly three times higher than that of white mothers.
During the negotiations, the doulas sought as much as
Under the Governor’s latest proposal, the state would pay
The Newsom administration set compensation for doula labor and delivery at the same rate as doctors and midwives. “This proposal recognizes that although doulas have less formal training than a licensed practitioner, doula services are different and generally last much longer than a visit or birth event with a licensed practitioner,” said writes the state in the
Doulas could have negotiated a flat rate with the administration, but thought charging for each visit would be fairer to workers, said Anu Manchikanti Gómez, associate professor at the
“Because the rate of perinatal visits is so low, it doesn’t make a huge difference overall in terms of state spending,” Gómez said. “But
Although the reimbursement rate was lower than what the doulas were asking for, some said it still represented progress. Khefri Riley, a
Others said the new rate is more acceptable but the numbers are still tight for doulas.
Some doulas report that local governments and private insurance programs pay even more. A pilot doula program in
“We live in one of the most expensive states, and I think there are a lot of big wins in the review that reflect that they listen to the nature of doula work,” Runnels said. “There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
State governments will often determine what is reasonable by checking rates in other states.
“I love that they have so many paid visits,” Nolan said. “I think it’s really good.”