HHS Applauds 12-Month Postpartum Expansion in California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon
Today, 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.
“The first year after giving birth is a critical period—and families deserve the peace of mind knowing they will be able to access the health care coverage they need, without interruption,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Today, more than 126,000 additional families will benefit from states extending Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to 12 months of postpartum coverage. This is a significant step forward in our efforts to improve maternal health and equity across the country. I applaud California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon for joining our efforts to support healthy parents and babies, and call on other states to work with us in expanding access to this critical care.”
“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.
The Biden-Harris Administration has championed policies to improve maternal health and equity since the President and Vice President first took office. Last year, President Biden issued the first-ever Presidential Proclamation marking Black Maternal Health Week, coupled with a set of initial actions to address the Black maternal health crisis; and Vice President Harris hosted the first-ever White House Day of Action on maternal health. 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.
Read more about Medicaid After Pregnancy: State-Level Implications of Extending Postpartum Coverage, published by the ASPE in December 2021.