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Under proposed changes, MassHealth could cover doula services

A mother relaxes with a newborn baby.
Kevin T. Quinn
Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/kevinq2000
A mother relaxes with a newborn baby.

MassHealth officials are weighing whether to cover pregnancy and support care by doulas.

Currently, the state's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program
does not cover doula care. A proposed rule change would regulate and cover doulas as MassHealth providers.

Alli Rotenberg is a doula serving Berkshire County.

“It’s hard to find clientele that will pay you a fee that can make it so that you can provide for your family and live comfortably," Rotenberg said.

Rotenberg said her birth work could serve a wider population if insurance covered it.

Doula Karen Kurtigan has practiced in Franklin County for 12 years. Kurtigan said she supports the proposed insurance expansion because it would take away the pay wall that keeps some potential clients away.

"It does become a challenge for families," Kurtigan said. "We don't want to put that barrier on them. It's no added stress for us to do that extra paperwork."

A public hearing on expanding MassHealth to cover doula services will be held Friday.

If approved, the earliest the regulation could take effect is October.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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