The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon actions to expand Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to 12 months postpartum for a total of an additional 126,000 families across their states, annually—supporting 57,000; 52,000; 10,000; and 7,000 parents, respectively.
“As CMS Administrator—and also as a mother—I applaud California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon for joining a cadre of states in giving families one of the greatest gifts we can: The peace of mind of health coverage, particularly in the critical post-partum period,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The American Rescue Plan gives all states an easier pathway to extend postpartum coverage beyond the critical first weeks for a new family, which can put all our communities—particularly those hard hit by health disparities—on a better course toward health and well-being.”
The expansion of coverage in California, Kentucky, and Oregon was made possible by a new state plan opportunity included in the American Rescue Plan. Florida will offer its coverage through a Medicaid and CHIP section 1115 demonstration.
California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon join South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Illinois in extending Medicaid and CHIP coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. CMS continues working with other state partners to extend coverage for 12 months after pregnancy, which has also been proposed in several other states, including Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, and Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia. As a result of these efforts, as many as 720,000 pregnant and postpartum individuals across the United States, annually, could be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
Medicaid covers 42% of all births in the nation. This new option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage is part of the ongoing efforts of HHS and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to address the disparities in maternal health outcomes by opening the door to postpartum care for hundreds of thousands of parents.
According to a report published by the HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), one in three pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year after childbirth. The postpartum period is critical for recovering from childbirth, addressing complications of delivery, ensuring mental health, managing infant care, and transitioning from obstetric to primary care.