Oklahoma: Biden-Harris Admin announces expansion of Medicaid postpartum coverage in OK, joining 29 other states & DC
Lost in all the fuss last week over the ACA's 13th anniversary, the corresponding enrollment report, and North Carolina's expansion of Medicaid to an additional 600,000 people was this announcement via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):
Biden-Harris Administration Announces the Expansion of Medicaid Postpartum Coverage in Oklahoma; 30 States and D.C. Now Offer a Full Year of Coverage After Pregnancy
- Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to strengthen maternal health. an estimated 462,000 Americans annually are now eligible for essential care for a full year after pregnancy.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced an extension to 12 months of comprehensive coverage after pregnancy through Medicaid for women in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the 30th state to be approved for the extended coverage, made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) and made permanent by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA, 2023), which President Biden signed into law earlier this year. Today’s announcement marks critical progress in implementing the CMS Maternity Care Action Plan, which supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint, a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving maternal health, particularly in underserved communities.
As a result of today’s announcement, up to an additional 14,000 people in Oklahoma will be eligible for Medicaid for a full year after pregnancy. Medicaid covers 41% of all births in the nation and more than half of all children in the country. In total, an estimated 462,000 Americans across 30 states and the District of Columbia have now expanded access to postpartum coverage. If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States would be guaranteed Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care a top priority – and because of the ARP and other Biden-Harris Administration efforts, more people than ever before have health insurance coverage. Extending Medicaid/CHIP postpartum coverage is an important part of these efforts.
“I applaud Oklahoma and all of the 30 states and Washington, D.C., who have extended postpartum coverage for a full year after pregnancy, a vital step to improve maternal health,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Inspired by the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their determination to confront the nation’s maternal mortality and morbidity crisis, we will continue to support policies to help ensure the health of mothers and babies. I urge all states yet to extend postpartum coverage to do so.”
“We commend Oklahoma for extending coverage to a full year after pregnancy in Medicaid – a key to connecting more communities and families to the health care coverage they need,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, we’ve built a firm foundation to support the health and wellbeing of women and families. That foundation now forms the bedrock for a growing majority of states that are prioritizing maternal health improvement, and advancing care for our communities as a result.”
Under this coverage, states may extend postpartum coverage through Medicaid and CHIP from the current mandatory 60-day period to 12 months. Oklahoma is the most recent state to extend Medicaid coverage for 12 months following pregnancy, joining Alabama; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Illinois; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; New Jersey; New Mexico; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Virginia; Washington; Washington, D.C.; and West Virginia. CMS continues to work with other states that have proposed adopting the ARP option to extend postpartum coverage to 12 months.
This new option for states to extend Medicaid/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. For more information on these and other efforts to advance connections to care for pregnant and postpartum individuals, consult this fact sheet. President Biden’s 2024 budget also includes $471 million to support the ongoing implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, and would require all states to provide continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, eliminating gaps in health insurance at a critical time.
States expanding postpartum coverage is especially crucial in light of the recent release of maternal mortality rates, which show that, in 2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States, compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019. One in three pregnancy-related deaths occur between six weeks 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.