How to Obtain Texas Medicaid for Babies Born to Women in Prison

texas medicaid babies prison

Caring for Newborns of Incarcerated Mothers: A Comprehensive Guide to Medicaid Coverage

When a pregnant woman enters the state prison system, it’s important to ensure the mother and her baby receive proper healthcare coverage.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of providing Medicaid coverage for newborns born to incarcerated mothers in Texas. You’ll learn about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Women’s Facility, the role of prison social workers, and the application process for Medicaid coverage.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Women’s Facility

When a pregnant woman enters the state prison system, she is sent to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice women’s facility. This facility ensures that the woman receives the necessary care and support during pregnancy.

Preparing for the Delivery of the Baby

A few weeks before her due date, the pregnant woman is sent to a prison section of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. In case of an emergency, she might deliver at a closer facility when necessary. This ensures that she receives proper medical care during her delivery.

The Role of the Prison Social Worker

The prison social worker plays a crucial role in assisting the pregnant woman during her time at the facility. Responsibilities include finding a family member to pick up the baby and coordinating with the hospital. 

Finding a Responsible Individual for the Baby

Before the baby is born, the prison social worker helps the pregnant woman arrange for a responsible individual to pick up the baby from the hospital. This person will take care of the baby after the mother returns to the prison facility.

Coordinating with UTMB

The prison social worker also coordinates with UTMB in Galveston to ensure a smooth delivery process for the pregnant woman.

Texas Medicaid Application Process for Newborns

Upon the baby’s birth, the individual picking up the baby from the hospital must complete a Medicaid application. This is a requirement from UTMB to ensure that the baby receives proper healthcare coverage.

Texas Works Advisors’ Responsibilities

Designated Texas Works advisors are responsible for certifying the baby for Medicaid coverage. They use special application processing procedures and follow-up activities to ensure that the newborn receives the necessary healthcare coverage.

Special Cases and Coordination

In some situations, designated Texas Works advisors need to coordinate with other advisors for the Medicaid certification process.

Documentation and Certification of the Newborn

Upon request by the designated advisors, an advisor must certify the newborn for Medicaid (TP 43) from the date of birth (DOB) or after normal application time frames have passed if needed. The advisor must document the case record accordingly.

State Law Requirements and Exceptions

By law, Texas requires Medicaid coverage for newborns for at least 28 days after birth. This coverage may be extended if the child is still hospitalized.

Cases Where the Baby Does Not Meet Eligibility Requirements

If the baby does not meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, the designated advisor will certify the baby for State-Paid Coverage. Examples of situations where the baby may not meet eligibility requirements include:

  • The individual caring for the child does not reside in Texas, and the baby will be taken out of state
  • The individual caring for the child refuses to apply for Medicaid
  • The household is over the income limit


The prison social worker that is assisting the incarcerated woman will help start the process of applying for Medicaid. The family member or friend picking the newborn up from the hospital is ultimately responsible for following through and applying for Medicaid.  They will complete this process of applying for Medicaid with the help of the prison social worker.

If you are caring for a child of an incarcerated family member or friend, there are resources to help you. Organizations like TIFA and Seedling assist children of incarcerated parents. You can also contact your local United Way at 211 to learn more about resources to help you. 

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