Mothers First

Medicaid For Low-Income Women

“I was 12 to 13 weeks pregnant trying to find a doctor, so I just took the first one that said, ‘Well come on in, and maybe we’ll see what we can do.’”


More than half of births in Texas are financed by Medicaid. As a state, Texas has one of the most restrictive health coverage programs for low-income individuals, including low-income women. Texas has chosen not to provide coverage for all low-income individuals, as offered through the Affordable Care Act. In Texas, for a woman to receive Medicaid, she must be a U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant, pregnant, and have an income below 198% Federal Poverty Line (for a family of four, that is $4,323 per month; see income chart here). She loses her Medicaid (health) coverage 60 days after she gives birth, which makes it harder for women to address any health issues (both physical as well as mental/behavioral health) or complications that might arise during pregnancy, increasing their chances of a life-threatening experience.

After the long process of applying for Medicaid, Juanita Coleman was finally approved. That was not the end of her difficulties. Juanita was 12 to 13 weeks pregnant, still trying to find a doctor to accept Medicaid as their only form of insurance. In episode two, hear from Juanita as she shares her story of the care she received while on Medicaid and the struggle of trying to stay insured.

Dr. Carla Ortique, Healthcare Specialist and Co-Chair of IMH Houston, lends her expertise to share that many maternal morbidities happen after pregnancy when women are no longer able to receive Medicaid.

For more information and to watch episodes, visit the Mothers First webpage here.