SPRINGFIELD – Leading the charge to address disparities in maternal mortality rates in Illinois, State Senator Lakesia Collins is spearheading a measure to expand coverage for pregnancy, postpartum and newborn care provided by doulas and midwives.

“As a mom, I know how necessary pregnancy and midwife services are and how vital it is to lower the maternal mortality rate by ensuring mothers and newborns have the best health care and supports possible,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “Black women face some of the highest mortality rates during and after pregnancy, and with this legislation, we will begin to close gaps in coverage and increase safety and care for all newborns and mothers in Illinois.”

Under Collins’ legislation, private insurers would be required to cover all pregnancy, postpartum and newborn care provided by perinatal doulas or licensed certified professional midwives, including home births, home visits and support during labor. Insurance companies would need to cover home visits by board-certified lactation consultants, including the cost of recommended breast pumps, breastfeeding supplies and feeding aids.

The measure would also provide coverage for abortion care without cost-sharing limitations like waiting periods or deductibles, and aims to add coverage for certified professional midwife services for residents with Medicaid starting Jan. 1, 2025. To keep consumer costs from inflating, the legislation allows policy limits to cover up to $8,000 for home visits by a perinatal doula.

“Mothers across Illinois, especially Black mothers, are harmed every day by the barriers they face to receiving this care, creating an unneeded risk that moms and their newborns should not have to burden,” said Collins. “With this legislation, we are making sure Illinois residents are covered for all stages of pregnancy so they can get the care they need to keep themselves safe.”  

House Bill 5142 passed the Senate Insurance Committee on Tuesday and moves to the Senate floor for further action.