Oct 27, 2022 - Health

Most U.S. states have extended Medicaid coverage after birth

Data: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Map: Madison Dong

More than half of the states have now expanded their Medicaid postpartum coverage from the federally mandated 60 days to one year, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: U.S. maternal mortality rates outpace those in other developed nations, and expanded eligibility for benefits is seen as an increasingly important tool for improving maternal and child health.

  • The trend is resonating in the post-Roe landscape, where states with abortion bans also tend to have poorer health outcomes and fewer safety-net programs for mothers and children.

Details: HHS officials first confirmed to Axios that Georgia and Pennsylvania's waivers to expand postpartum coverage have been approved, bringing the total to 26 states and the District of Columbia.

By the numbers: More than half (53%) of pregnancy-related deaths occur between a week and a year after giving birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Under federal guidelines, Medicaid coverage for pregnancy ends 60 days after giving birth, after which nearly half of women covered by Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program become uninsured, according to pre-pandemic estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

  • The American Rescue Plan, passed last year, gives states the option to extend their Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months.

What they're saying: "As of today, more than half of states have heeded this call, achieving an important milestone that will significantly impact women and families," Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement.

  • HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urged remaining states to follow suit and "extend access to this critical care."

Go deeper: Health experts see rise in maternal mortality post-Roe

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