Indy nonprofits study financial hardships associated with pregnancies
Three Indianapolis-based nonprofits have announced a partnership to study the experiences of pregnant and postpartum women in the Indiana Health Fund’s medical debt relief program. The program was established to help prevent families from facing financial hardship or medical bankruptcy because of overwhelming medical expenses.
The consortium includes the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute, the Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Initiative and the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health.
The Indiana Health Fund established a special fund in 2022 to provide medical debt relief for pregnant and parenting Hoosiers.
“Indiana Health Fund is excited about this partnership,” said Colleen Rusnak, executive director of the Indiana Health Fund. “Single mothers and first-time mothers that are just trying to make ends meet do not need the added burden of paying for their delivery that will many times lead to medical bankruptcy. We are eager to learn more about the women we assist and how to better support this population.”
Dr. Jacqueline Wiltshire, who is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health, has spent a career examining disparities in access to health care and affordability.
“It has a negative impact on financial and economic stability, mental and physical health, as well as access to and use of medical care. It contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care,” said Wiltshire. “Medical debt incurred from pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum care can have significant and long-lasting consequences for women and their children.”
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute provided funding for the project. Results are anticipated in the summer of 2024.