There has been a lot of talk in the past weeks surrounding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which provides funding and provisions that will benefit industries, businesses, and individuals affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Though most of the discourse has surrounded topics like a bailout for struggling companies and stimulus checks for much of the American public, other changes are also included in the act including a major change to pregnant and postpartum individuals’ Medicaid coverage. The hope is that this extension of Medicaid postpartum benefits will help improve the lives of many new parents on Medicaid.
New Medicaid Expansion Policy
The new policy is two-fold: it will allow states the option to expand their Medicaid postpartum coverage from the current 60-day period to a full 12 months following the birth of a child and will also allow states to broaden this extension through their CHIP programs.
While the new policy won’t take effect until April 1 of 2022, postpartum individuals on Medicaid are currently allowed to keep their coverage beyond the typical 60 days due to 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 until 2027.
Medicaid Postpartum Benefits
Medicaid currently covers approximately half of American births each year. With Medicaid expansion spreading across the nation, it makes sense that state governments would want to expand coverage for new parents. Currently, there is a high rate of pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality among varying minority groups that are largely preventable when proper care is provided.
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.
Health Insurance Questions?
We hope this information on Medicaid postpartum benefits is helpful.
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