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Anyone have experience with WIC or Medicaid?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My husband and I have decided to start TTC this month. We don't have health insurance and can't afford it. I am leaning toward doing UP/UC even though this would be my first pregnancy, mostly because I'm uncomfortable with the idea of getting my prenatal care through Medicaid/WIC. If I could find a home birth midwife in my area I'd be open to that too, but home birth is basically illegal in my state. I've had a hard time finding anyone nearby who would do it.

I'm afraid that going through Medicaid/WIC would require me to submit to tests and procedures that I don't want. I really don't want a hospital birth. I would be concerned that if I had a home birth after getting prenatal care through Medicaid I might have legal problems/CPS involved.

My husband is pushing for Medicaid/WIC because of the food benefits they provide. I don't think we'd necessarily need the assistance, but it would certainly help. He is in school full time and works part time, and I also work part time but would stay at home once I give birth. I've done the math and we'll be able to afford a baby, but not without some sacrifice. I think he'd feel more comfortable if we had the buffer that WIC food assistance provides.

I would love any stories or advice from people who have dealt with WIC or Medicaid.
post #2 of 15
I have had experience with both and they do not necessarily go hand in hand. It's my understanding the WIC program has added a considerable number of items since I was enrolled in it about 6 years ago. For me personally I only jumped through the hoops to do WIC with DS1 because (for many reasons I won't go into now) he was formula fed beginning at 3 months and we couldn't afford formula apart from WIC. I believe I still qualified when DS2 was born, but we did not do it because he was breastfed exclusively and it wasn't worth the appointments with there office to get cheese, milk and some carrots. At that time they did not pay for organics. I am unsure what there current policy on organics is.

As far as medicaid. Once you are under the care of a provider it is like having any other insurance. You make all the decisions in terms of what you would or would not like to have done. I know that in my area the only free standing birthing center accepts medicaid. I am not completely sure if they cover home births, but based on the midwives I have spoken with it sounds like as long as the care provider accepts the insurance medicaid will pay for it. It is in their best interest really because in my area it is about $2500 for complete prenatal care and home birth with a midwife. Conversely, it is $15000 for complete prenatal care and an uncomplicated hospital delivery.

I have never heard of anyone getting into situations with CPS based on choices they made regarding their healthcare on medicaid. Healthcare providers are mandated reporters, but they are also under HIPA (health care privacy) and unless they witnesses something that they consider neglectful or abusive against your child, they are not at liberty to discuss your care with anyone. Also, you have to remember how poorly run most state agencies are. It is unlikely that someone in the medicaid billing office is going to have the gumption or time to care that you are choosing a home birth or not wanting to give a Vit K shot.

If I were you, I would not worry about it and do what you think is best for your family.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your response! It's very reassuring.
post #4 of 15
Glad I could be helpful.

Best of luck to you!
post #5 of 15
I had medicaid through my UP/UC pregnancy. Mainly I had it as a "just in case" back-up. If you do decide to recieve care it is well within your rights as a patient to refuse any tests or procedures that you are not comfortable with.

WIC is entirely seperate from medicaid. With them they will occassionally ask you to write down your food intake for like a day. I really never listened to what they told me as far as my nutrition was cancerned. i just smiled and nodded and got my vouchers
post #6 of 15
I had medicaid and a MW who I loved HB is also basically illegal in my state but the MW offered to "shadow care" in case I needed to transfer or have more advanced tests done.

Medicaid isn't Big Brother health care or "Obamacare" *shutter* I hate that word.

It is regular REAL health care. YOU are the client/customer/patient whatever you want to call it, and YOU call the shots. The only negative is you have to call around and see who is accepting new Medicaid patients. You will have different degrees of this with private insurance too. Sometimes the Dr you really really want just doesn't take your insurance.

WIC is entirely different. They are a nutrition and breastfeeding support program. The food packages now are quite baller if I do say so. There is fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains, cheese, beans, tofu, eggs, fish (salmon tuna tuna) cereal, peanut butter and milk (I was given lactaid, as I am intolerant). Even organics with as the "fruits and veggies" if that's your thing.

Plus having an LC to call is priceless. (Well there is a price, but it's more that I could afford! )
post #7 of 15
We've been on medicaid since before ds1 was born. Both my boys were born in hospitals w/ midwives and zero interventions (OK, my mw broke my water w/ ds2, but thats it and totally 100% w/ my permission. I was totally, 100% DONE being pregnant!! FWIW, he was born ~3 hours later ). SO, its definetly possible. And this is in redneck OH where most people have epi's and lots have c-sections...

I honestly don't get why so many people are scared of govt healthcare. Its great. Its free, you get a choice in doctors/midwives (more or less depending on area). Whats not to like? Whats there to be scared of??
post #8 of 15
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post #9 of 15
i was on Medicaid with DS and DD1... and for the first 6 months with DD2.

The doctor I had, with Medicaid, is actually the woman who got me to homebirth DD2!

With DS she would tell me that if I wanted a homebirth, she would attend and tell them it was an emergency (and she just happened to be there because she was my neighbor... lol) this only to get her out of trouble for attending a planned homebirth... something she was not allowed to do at the time in that state.

Yes... its lying. But its believable. Many women have unintended homebirths with a neighbor who is a medial professional... or unintended uc because baby comes so fast. They cannot fault you for that.

As for tests, everyone else is right... you have the right to NOT receive any testing you dont want. The only problem is sometimes you cant get the ones you want because they arent covered... but refusing only runs the potential problem of going against doctors office wishes and they can drop you... but medicaid doesnt care.

I just suggest you have a doctor or midwife who has a fairly similar belief on what is necessary.

As for WIC, as was already mentioned... they really have nothing to do with your medical. But if you qualify I HIGHLY suggest getting it. It really does help you out when you are in a tough spot... even if that tough spot only lasts a couple days til the next payday. Plus, the office I had mine through was EXTREMELY supportive of breastfeeding and when I went back to work, even provided me a free pump (an expensive electric one!)
post #10 of 15
WIC and Medicaid are two separate programs. I had WIC with DD and during pregnancy with DS but like a pp DD was on formula and I couldn't afford all the formula so I did WIC. I stopped doing it with DS because he was EBF. I had Medicaid with both of them and here are my thoughts on this: the health dept/free clinic is where the issues come in with having to go entirely mainstream with all the procedures. I wouldn't be surprised if they called CPS because of you not doing something. They sent a nurse to my house during pregnancy with DD because I missed an appt! DO NOT sign up for the PREMIS ??? program. That is why they did it. It was suppose to be a nutritional program and sounded like a good idea. Turns out it was a CPS evaluation. Paperwork asked questions like do you have a fridge? gas or electric stove? heat? etc. Sounded suspicious to me so I backed out.

Some doctor's offices accept medicaid and they will be more willing to listen to you and avoid tests/procedures if you want. Apparently some states allow medicaid to cover midwives but not mine. Here midwives/home birth are legal just not talked about. It's very difficult to find one. I'd check with midwives in your area though if you're interested in that. Some are around $2500 total cost and payments can be made. They're usually really good about working with you. You could still apply for WIC if you want/need.
post #11 of 15
Oh one more thing... The doctor I saw for my 1st appt this time does accept medicaid and gave me a form to take for the application if I applied. The 1st appt did require a $200 payment that day though. Something to consider/plan for if you go that route with a doctor's clinic because you can't get medicaid until you have a verified pregnancy.
post #12 of 15
I didn't read any replies, but I wanted to respond. Forgive me if I am repeating what others have said.

I did have health insurance when I was pregnant with my first, but chose to UP/UC because it felt right to me on many different levels. Please don't base your decision to UP/UC on your health insurance, or lack of it.

I didn't have insurance with DS2, and just paid out of pocket the few times I felt like I needed to go to the doctor. That bit me in the butt when a planned UC homebirth turned into a birth in the car in the parking lot of the hospital. I now owe over $30,000 in hospital bills, and will most likely have to file bankruptcy to avoid having my wages garnished for the rest of my life. The hospital has been unwilling to work with me up to this point.

Had I gone down and gotten on medicaid, I could have avoided that 30k hospital bill.

I have two acquaintances who are on or have been on Medicaid during their pregnancies. One of them only went to 3 OB appointments, mostly for an u/s at 20 weeks, and then to determine the baby's position towards the end of her pregnancy. She birthed at home with a lay midwife friend, and Medicaid never "flagged" her, or anything like that.

Another is a woman who is currently pregnant and planning to UC, and is on Medicaid and only using it for prenatal chiropractic care. She has not been "flagged" either.

My son is on Medicaid, and has been since we lost our health insurance 3 years ago. He has been to the dentist twice, had dental surgery once, and gone to the ER for dental trauma once. He's never actually been to a doctor, and we don't vaccinate. They haven't flagged us, either. I think a lot of things, especially when you are one of the few that chooses NOT to run to the doc at every sniffle, goes unnoticed by the Medicaid agency.

I encourage you to get on it when you become pregnant, even if you choose never to see an OB. They will assign you one, but if you never call and make an appointment, no one will be the wiser. Here, the assign your OB based on who is accepting new medicaid patients. If you don't like that OB, you can shop around for your own, its just hard sometimes to find someone willing to accept your medicaid. If you need a referral to a high risk OB of a MFM specialist or anything like that, your assigned OB will refer you and you can avoid having to call around to see who will accept you.

As for WIC, I had it for about 6 months when my son was very young, right after his father and I separated. It was very helpful during those broke days. We always had milk and juice, and because I was breastfeeding we got things like carrots and tuna and beans. It really did help. I think they have expanded the WIC program in most states in the past year, and you can now buy more fresh fruits and vegetables with your vouchers. It typically takes a while to get an appointment, so call as soon as you get a BFP to schedule your appointment, because it may take a couple of months.

Oh - and you can go down to the health dept (which shares a building with the Medicaid office in a lot of places) and have a pregnancy test done free to have your confirmation of pregnancy to apply for Medicaid.
post #13 of 15
I PM'd you... I just realized how un-obvious it is that a PM is waiting for you...

post #14 of 15
It is regular REAL health care. YOU are the client/customer/patient whatever you want to call it, and YOU call the shots

I had Medical Assistance with all four of my pregnancies. It covered my CNM attended hospital birth, the two births at freestanding birth centers and would have covered my homebirth with a CNM (except that I switched to a CPM I liked better and paid out of pocket).
post #15 of 15
I guess I just want to toss my thought out there: Personally, I would never ever consider giving birth without some kind of insurance. Especially with my 1st birth. You just have no idea what could happen leading up to or during your birth. Even if you had a wonderful UP, you would be forevor grateful that you had the backup Medicaid if you had to transfer to the hospital for any reason at any time for you or baby. And unexpected emergencies happen so, well, unexpectedly! I have myself had to file bankruptcy for $20,000+ worth of hospital bills due to 2 separate hospitalizations I couldn't possibly have predicted (appendicitis & a severe kidney infection) that occured while I was uninsured. I learned that lesson the hard way.

I've given birth 3 times on Medicaid (MediCal). My experiences were extremely mixed. But I would still choose that over no insurance, for sure. Actually, my 1st baby entirely unexpectedly required emergency surgery just after birth. She was hospitalized for 6 weeks & her bill reached over $600,000. And this was 19 yrs ago so it would be much more now. No one predicted that! Can you imagine if I hadn't had Medicaid. Whew.

Anyway, good luck with your research, & have fun on your TTC journey!
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