The Economic Impact of Untreated Maternal Mental Health Conditions in Texas

The Economic Impact of Untreated Maternal Mental Health Conditions in Texas

Published: Sep 12, 2022
Publisher: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, vol. 22
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Authors

Caroline Margiotta

Jessica Gao

Background

Maternal mental health conditions (MMHCs), which include depression and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and through five years postpartum, are among the most common obstetric complications in the United States overall and in Texas in particular. In the context of potential expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year, we sought to capture the societal, financial burden of untreated MMHCs.

Methods

We estimated the economic impact of untreated maternal mental health conditions (MMHCs) among births in Texas in 2019 using a cost-of-illness model.

Results

We found that MMHCs affected 13.2% of mothers and, when left untreated, cost $2.2 billion among mothers and children born in Texas in 2019 when following the birth cohort from conception through five years postpartum. We found that MMHCs affected 17.2% of mothers enrolled in Texas’ Medicaid for Pregnant Women and cost $962 million. In addition, the prevalence of MMHCs and resulting costs varied considerably among women of different races and ethnicities. Employers and health care payers, including Medicaid, bore most of these costs.

Conclusions

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) efforts to increase awareness about MMHCs and increase access to care represent an important step toward improving maternal and child health and maximizing benefits to Texas HHSC, employers, and insurers.

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