HHS Approves 12-Month Extension of Postpartum Coverage in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas
Today, 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 Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas. As a result, up to an additional 19,000 people annually – including 4,000 in Connecticut; 8,000 in Massachusetts, and 7,000 in Kansas – will now have access to Medicaid or CHIP coverage for a full year after pregnancy. With today’s approval, an estimated 284,000 Americans annually in 18 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 could be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
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. Today’s action is a part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to address maternal health disparities and improve health outcomes.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has made strengthening maternal health a top priority, and thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, more than 280,000 families across the country can now get critical health care coverage for a full year after pregnancy,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We applaud Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas 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.”
“I’m glad CMS could partner with Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas to extend coverage for a full 12 months after pregnancy. Today, we estimate that more than 280,000 people across the country now have access to one of the greatest gifts we can give a new family: the peace of mind that comes with health care coverage,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The American Rescue Plan gives states an easier pathway to support the health and well-being of postpartum women and families — particularly during the vital first year after pregnancy. We look forward to welcoming many more states into the fold moving forward.”
This extension of coverage was made possible by a new state plan opportunity established by the American Rescue Plan Act. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas are the latest states to receive approval to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy, joining California; Florida; Illinois; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Michigan; Minnesota; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oregon; South Carolina; Tennessee; Virginia; Washington state; and Washington, D.C.
CMS continues working to extend coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in other states that have submitted extension proposals, including Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Medicaid covers 42% of all births in the nation. 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 people.
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.