CMS approves 12-month postpartum Medicaid/CHIP coverage in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico & DC; 253K have benefited so far
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that during the Biden-Harris Administration 253,000 parents have gained access to 12 months of postpartum coverage through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) extensions. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made addressing the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis a key priority for their Administration.
CMS approved actions in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy. As a result, up to an additional 15,000 people annually in these states—including 2,000 in Maine; 7,000 in Minnesota; 5,000 in New Mexico; and 1,000 in Washington, D.C.—will have access to Medicaid or CHIP coverage for a full year after pregnancy. This extension of coverage was made possible by a new state plan opportunity established by the President’s American Rescue Plan. Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., join California, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Illinois in extending Medicaid and CHIP coverage from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy.
“Postpartum coverage not only improves health outcomes, but also saves lives,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, new parents will now have access to the ongoing care they need during the most crucial time after giving birth. I applaud Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C, for taking action to join the Administration’s efforts to strengthen maternal health and support safe healthy families.”
“As CMS Administrator and a mother, it’s a privilege to work with states to extend postpartum coverage across the country—most recently in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The American Rescue Plan gives states an easier pathway to extend postpartum coverage—and gives parents and families the peace of mind of having health coverage during the vital first year after pregnancy.”
CMS continues working to extend coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in other states that have submitted extension proposals, including Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia. If all states adopted this option, 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. But for too long, families have been left behind by a health care system that breaks connections to care when they are needed most. More than half of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States occur in the 12-month postpartum period; 12 percent occur after six weeks postpartum.
This new option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage is part of the ongoing efforts of 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 individuals. It offers states an opportunity to provide life-saving care that can reduce pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal morbidity, as well as improve continuity of care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac conditions, substance use disorder, and depression—particularly for underserved communities.
As noted in 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.
Estimated Number of Parents Gaining Coverage Annually:
- California: 57,000
- District of Columbia: 1,000
- Florida: 52,000
- Illinois: 21,000
- Kentucky: 10,000
- Louisiana: 14,000
- Maine: 2,000
- Michigan: 16,000
- Minnesota: 7,000
- New Jersey: 11,000
- New Mexico: 5,000
- Oregon: 7,000
- South Carolina: 16,000
- Tennessee: 22,000
- Virginia: 12,000