The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved the extension of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Indiana and West Virginia.
As a result, up to an additional 15,000 people annually – including 12,000 in Indiana and 3,000 in West Virginia – will now be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a full year after pregnancy. With the approval, in combination with previously approved state extensions, an estimated 333,000 Americans annually in 23 states and D.C. are eligible for 12 months of postpartum coverage. If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States annually would be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made expanding access to high-quality, affordable healthcare a top priority – and because of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and other Administration efforts, more people than ever before have health insurance coverage. Extending Medicaid postpartum coverage is an important part of these efforts.
“Ensuring mothers get the care they need after giving birth is a core part of our effort to address the nation’s maternal health crisis,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, now 333,000 families across the nation can access healthcare coverage for a full year after pregnancy – and have the peace of mind that comes with it. We thank Indiana and West Virginia for joining our efforts to support healthy mothers and families, and we call on all remaining states to take advantage of the opportunity to provide this critical care.”
This announcement is part of HHS’ ongoing effort to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, eliminate pregnancy-related health disparities, and improve health outcomes for parents and infants across our country.
In June, the White House released the Biden-Harris Administration’s Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, a whole-of-government approach to combatting maternal mortality and morbidity. For far too many people, complications related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period can lead to devastating health outcomes and result in hundreds of deaths each year. This maternal health crisis is particularly devastating for Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people, and those in rural communities, who all experience maternal mortality and morbidity at significantly higher rates than their white and urban counterparts.
In July, CMS released its Maternity Care Action Plan to support the implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Blueprint, which includes postpartum coverage extensions through Medicaid and CHIP. The action plan takes a holistic and coordinated approach across CMS to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities for people during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. CMS’ implementation of the action plan will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s broad vision and call to action to improve maternal health.
“Indiana and West Virginia join an expanding list of state partners choosing to prioritize healthcare coverage in the critical first year after pregnancy,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The American Rescue Plan serves as a foundation to support the health and wellbeing of postpartum women and families. Now, as part of the Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint and CMS’ Maternity Care Action Plan, we’re continuing the work to make improved maternal health a reality for communities across the country.”
This extension of coverage was made possible by a new state plan authority established by the ARP, under which states may extend postpartum coverage in their Medicaid and CHIP programs from the current mandatory 60-day period to 12 months. Indiana and West Virginia are the latest states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months following pregnancy, joining California; Connecticut; Florida; Hawaii; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; New Jersey; New Mexico; Ohio; Oregon; South Carolina; Tennessee; Virginia; Washington state; and Washington, D.C. CMS continues to work with states that have proposed adopting the ARP option to extend postpartum coverage to 12 months.
Medicaid covers 42% of all births in the nation and more than half of all children in the country. This new option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage is part of ongoing efforts through HHS and the Biden-Harris Administration to address disparities in maternal health outcomes by opening the door to postpartum care for hundreds of thousands of people. Extending Medicaid postpartum coverage is an important part of these efforts, as highlighted in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis and CMS’ recently released Maternity Care Action Plan. For more information on these and other efforts to advance connections to care for pregnant and postpartum individuals, consult this fact sheet.
As noted in a report published by the HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 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.