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Am J Public Health. 1985 Aug;75(8):851-7.

WIC prenatal participation and its relationship to newborn Medicaid costs in Missouri: a cost/benefit analysis.


The primary purpose of this study was to determine if WIC prenatal participation is associated with a reduction in Medicaid costs within 30 days after birth, and, if so, whether the reduction in Medicaid costs is greater than the WIC costs for these women. This evaluation of WIC was performed using 7,628 Missouri Medicaid records matched with their corresponding 1980 birth records. This file was then divided into a WIC group containing 1,883 records and a non-WIC comparison group of 5,745 records. WIC participation was found to be associated with the reduction in Medicaid newborn costs of about $100 per participant (95 per cent confidence interval $43,153); mother's Medicaid costs were not affected. For every dollar spent on WIC, about 83 in Medicaid costs within 30 days of birth were apparently saved according to the results of this study (95 per cent confidence interval $.40, $1.30). Reductions in low birthweight rates and NICU admission rates among WIC infants provided two possible reasons for the reduced Medicaid costs associated with WIC food supplementation. As WIC food costs increased, both mean birthweight and newborn Medicaid savings also increased. Because of possible inconsistencies in the data, similar studies are needed in other states.

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