As we close out Women’s History Month, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is pleased to announce the passage of a package of bills he co-sponsors, to boost insurance eligibility during pregnancy, enhance women’s mental health screenings, and improve the transparency of information regarding birthing facilities in New York State.
“This legislation will ensure the health and well-being of maternal women are prioritized through greater access to valuable resources and critically important care,” Addabbo said. “These bills aim to improve the education and treatment of maternal mental health disorders while also making sure every expectant mother has access to insurance throughout their entire pregnancy especially those in vulnerable, at-risk populations,” added Addabbo.
The package of bills co-sponsored by Addabbo and passed by the NYS Senate will:
- S.534B - Require enhanced transparency about hospitals and birth centers provided in informational packets to expectant mothers to help them make informed decisions about prenatal care and birthing options.
- S.8241A - Allow pregnant women to enroll in health insurance during a special enrollment period without penalty. Prenatal care is critical for the health of pregnant women and for a positive pregnancy outcome. Penalties or fees associated with a special enrollment period for pregnant individuals are a costly and unnecessary deterrent for care.
- S.7752 - Establish a maternal mental health workgroup within the Office of Mental Health to study and issue recommendations that will improve the impacts that maternal mental health disorders have on women who give birth, their children, and their families.
- S.7753 - Direct the Office of Mental Health and the Department of Health to conduct a study detecting racial and other disparities within postpartum depression screenings, and research and analyze new ways to better detect postpartum depression.
With significant evidence indicating that expectant mothers in minority communities have limited options for prenatal care and childbirth, this legislation will give these women information to help them make informed decisions while also providing access to insurance at a critical time. Statistics have shown that black women are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy and birth-related complications and are 50% more likely to suffer severe pregnancy and birth complications. Improved access to prenatal care will not only greatly benefit women but also their unborn children.
Depression affects one in eight new mothers, with the risk being significantly higher for new mothers of color and they are the least likely to receive help. If we are able to better diagnose and treat the tens of thousands of mothers and families affected by maternal mental health disorders including depression, we will uplift not only these women but the families who depend on them across the state.
If you are in need of help, please call 9-1-1 or contact the Postpartum Resource Center of NY (postpartumny.org) at 1-855-631-0001, 7days a week, 9 am to 5 pm. The signs and symptoms of maternal depression are: feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless; lacking motivation, concentration, or energy; loss of interest or pleasure in activities; and feelings of anger, guilt, irritability, rage or regret. The signs and symptoms of maternal anxiety are: feeling easily stressed, worried, or overwhelmed; being hypervigilant with the baby; having scary, intrusive, or racing thoughts; feeling keyed up, on edge, restless, or panicked.