Victoria Ferrell Ortiz learned she was pregnant during summer 2017. The Dallas resident was finishing up an AmeriCorps job with a local nonprofit, which offered her a small stipend to live on but no health coverage. She applied for Medicaid so she could be insured during the pregnancy.
“It was a time of a lot of learning, turnaround, and pivoting for me, because we weren’t necessarily expecting that kind of life change,” she said.
Ferrell Ortiz would have liked a little more guidance to navigate the application process for Medicaid. She was inundated with forms. She spent days on end on the phone trying to figure out what was covered and where she could go to get care.
“Sometimes the representative that I would speak to wouldn’t know the answer,” she said. “I would have to wait for a follow-up and hope that they actually did follow up with me. More than 476,000 pregnant Texans are currently navigating that fragmented, bureaucratic system to find care. Medicaid provides coverage for about half of all births in the state — but many people lose eligibility not long after giving birth.
Many pregnant people rely on Medicaid coverage to get access to anything from prenatal appointments to prenatal vitamins, and then postpartum follow-up. Pregnancy-related Medicaid in Texas is available to individuals who make under $2,243 a month. But that coverage ends two months after childbirth — and advocates and researchers say that strict cutoff contributes to rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in the state that are hi …