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These States Join a Growing List Offering a Full Year of Postpartum Care

Hawaii, Maryland and Ohio have joined 18 other states and D.C. in an effort to provide mothers the support they need up to 12 months after they give birth.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published August 18, 2022
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Image: Kleber Cordeiro

An estimated 34,000 women in Maryland, Ohio and Hawaii are now eligible for an extension of postpartum care coverage up to 12 months.

For the past few months, healthcare advocates have fought to extend Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) postpartum coverage beyond the initial 60-day expiration date to 12 months postpartum. Hawaii, Ohio and Maryland are the latest in a list of 21 states and D.C to commit to this extension of care as a part of the American Rescue Plan, providing 318,000 more women annually with access to the care they need.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicaid covers 42 percent of all births in the nation, and this care is needed now more than ever, as many more women struggle with postpartum depression in the post-covid landscape. The HHS reports that 1 in 3 pregnancy-related deaths happen 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 HHS said in a recent press release.

Many postpartum issues may not manifest until after the original 60-day period. In an interview with State of Reform, Hawaii Representative Linda Ichiyama spoke to just some of these needs, “Gestational diabetes, heart problems like arrhythmias, can continue way past 60 days after delivery. So we were able to get that into the budget to extend postpartum coverage up to 12 months.”

Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis Schrader added in an initial announcement, “By expanding postpartum care, Maryland has increased access to care during one of the most crucial times for new mothers, parents, and babies. This care is critical to helping set mothers on a path toward a healthier future and ensuring a healthy start for Maryland families.”

This is just the latest effort by the HHS and White House to expand maternal protections, eliminate the racial disparities in maternal care and lower maternal mortality. The TRIUMPH for New Moms Act is currently working its way through Congress and the White House released its comprehensive Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis on June 24.

Learn what 21 states that have expanded their postpartum programs here and find more information on how you can advocate for game-changing maternal mental health legislation here.

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