Medicaid coverage of abortions

My daughter lives in New York and has two small children.  She and the children are covered by Medicaid.  She has had at least one abortion that I know of, but perhaps others.  She is pregnant again and tells me that Medicaid won’t pay for an abortion because she has had too many.  Is she telling me the truth or is she just making an excuse to have another baby?

Worried Grandmother

Dear Worried Grandmother,

It might be a little bit of a white lie and a little bit of truth.  New York Medicaid does not have a specific number limit on abortions.  It pays for “medically necessary” abortions. Medically necessary means that it is needed to preserve the physical or mental health of the mother. Generally, a physician’s statement that the care is medically necessary is enough to prove this. So, the state does not have a limit on the number of abortions. Rather, the limit is the physician’s discretion to confirm that it is medically necessary.

It is possible that her doctor has refused to confirm the medical need.  I’m not sure how likely this is, but it is possible.

Medicaid covers many kinds of birth control, which you could subtly mention to her when the topic arises.  Otherwise, get ready for a third grandchild and hope for the best.

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.