Relationship Between Infant Mortality Related to Birth Defects and Type of Payment for Delivery
Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that infants whose deliveries were paid by Medicaid had higher rates of death related to birth defects than infants whose deliveries were paid by private health insurance.
What Did We Already Know?
Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. Birth defects are the leading cause of infant death in the United States, accounting for about 1 in 5 infant deaths.1
- Approximately 12 infant deaths related to birth defects occurred for every 10,000 babies born in the United States from 2011-2013.
- Death rates related to birth defects were higher for babies whose deliveries were paid by Medicaid compared to private insurance. Further studies are needed to find out the reasons behind these differences.
- Strategies to ensure quality of care and access to care might reduce the difference between deliveries paid by Medicaid and those paid by private insurance.
About This Study
- Researchers used data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which provides access to birth certificates and infant death certificates. In this study, researchers looked at the number of infant deaths related to birth defects per 1,000 live births for infants whose deliveries were paid by Medicaid or private health insurance.
CDC’s Activities: Birth Defects
CDC is working to address birth defects with the following activities:
- Tracking: CDC tracks birth defects through several state tracking systems and regional programs. CDC also supports and collaborates with the National Birth Defects Prevention NetworkExternal (NBDPN), a volunteer-based organization consisting of local, state, and national groups working on birth defects monitoring, research and prevention.
- Research: CDC funds the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, which collaborate on large studies such as the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) (births 1997-2011) and the Birth Defects Study To Evaluate Pregnancy exposureS (BD-STEPS) (began with births in 2014). These studies work to identify factors that increase the risk for birth defects.
Key Findings Reference
Almli LM, Alter CC, Russell RB, et al. Association Between Infant Mortality Attributable to Birth Defects and Payment Source for Delivery — United States, 2011–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:84–87.