More States Expanding Postpartum Medicaid Coverage, but Medicaid Redetermination Threatens to Stop Progress Already Made

By Consumers for Quality Care, on June 21, 2023

More States Expanding Postpartum Medicaid Coverage, but Medicaid Redetermination Threatens to Stop Progress Already Made

This year, eight states have begun to seek federal approval for expanded postpartum Medicaid coverage, KFF Health News reports, joining the majority of states that have extended postpartum Medicaid coverage for up to a year for consumers.

Maggie Clark, Program Director for Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, said, “whether you’re conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between, people are really supportive of maternal health and helping moms and babies get a good start.” Currently, 33 states have approved 12-month postpartum coverage for mothers on Medicaid. According to the Center, just three states – Arkansas, Idaho, and Iowa – failed to pass legislation this year expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage.

More than 40 percent of births in America are covered by Medicaid. Currently, the default coverage for postpartum care extends to only 60 days for Medicaid enrollees. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis, nearly a third of pregnancy related deaths occurred between 43 and 365 days of giving birth. Extending post-partum care beyond 60 days could help improve health outcomes for new mothers, according to Annie Glover, a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Montana’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities. “The year that follows the delivery is a very vulnerable year for the pregnant person,” Glover said. “They have a new infant in their family, and this is a time when they probably need health care more than ever.”

But at the same time states are expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage, they may also be removing postpartum consumers from their Medicaid rolls, as the Medicaid redetermination process begins in states across the country, according to Healthcare Dive.

Federal protections enacted during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented states from removing consumers already enrolled in Medicaid. But as those protections have expired, states have begun disenrolling consumers who either are ineligible or have not renewed their coverage. That means consumers across the country may find themselves in a coverage gap: they may be ineligible for Medicaid coverage and ineligible for enhanced subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.

CQC urges all states to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to ensure all consumers have access to affordable, high-quality health care. CQC also urges lawmakers and regulators to ensure that consumers do not face a lapse in health care coverage due to Medicaid redeterminations, particularly among new mothers.