There has been a lot of talk throughout the past couple weeks regarding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is set to provide funding and provisions to benefit industries, businesses, and individuals affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Though most of the discussion has circled around topics like a bailout for struggling companies and stimulus checks for much of the American public, other changes are also included in the act. One comes in the form of a major change to pregnant and postpartum individuals’ Medicaid coverage. The hope in instituting this change is that the extended postpartum Medicaid coverage will improve, and even save, the lives of many new parents on Medicaid.
This new postpartum policy is two-fold: it will allow states both the option to expand their Medicaid postpartum coverage from the current 60-day period to a full 12 months and to broaden this extension through their existing CHIP programs.
While the new expansion won’t take effect until April 1 of next year, postpartum individuals on Medicaid are currently allowed to keep their coverage beyond the typical 60 days because of the Maintenance of Effort requirement enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. After the policy takes effect, it will be available to states for five years, until 2027.
Medicaid currently covers approximately half of American births each year. With Medicaid expansion occurring in most states across the nation, it makes sense that state governments would also want to expand coverage offered to new parents. There is currently a high rate of pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality among varying minority groups that are largely preventable when proper care is provided. These changes could help save the lives on many minority and low-income parents in the coming years.
This expansion would allow states to assist lower-income individuals prevent post-birth complications – like cardiovascular issues, hypertension, and depression – for up to the first year of the baby’s life. This extension would also provide continued care for parents who would not necessarily partake in preventative care measures after their 60-day Medicaid benefits expired, like contraception and intrapartum care.
According to the CDC, 1 in 8 American women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. The number only rises when examining populations of color or in lower-income areas. Physical ailments, like anemia, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension also affect new parents in the months following giving birth. These issues are not often discussed prior to birth, so new parents may feel confused or isolated when experiencing these or similar ailments. This extension of Medicaid’s postpartum care window may help new parents feel less alone when they experience symptoms of postpartum illness and may allow them to seek the care they would otherwise be unable to acquire.
We hope this information on postpartum Medicaid coverage is helpful to you.
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Originally from the snow-capped Rockies, Macee moved to Texas in 2016 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication. She currently serves as a writer and editor for Empower Brokerage, as well as the marketing manager for Preferred Senior Advisors. Macee is also working on her Master’s degree in management, and hopes to inspire others with her passion for telling stories through varied digital and print marketing efforts.