Biden-Harris Administration Announces Utah’s Medicaid and CHIP Postpartum Coverage Expansion; 45 States Now Offer Full Year of Coverage After Pregnancy

Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to strengthen maternal health, an estimated 691,000 Americans annually are now eligible for essential care for a full year after pregnancy.

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced Utah’s extension of comprehensive coverage for postpartum individuals for a full 12 months through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Today’s announcement marks critical progress in implementing the CMS Maternity Care Action Plan, which supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint, a comprehensive strategy to improve maternal health, particularly in underserved communities. Utah is the 45th state to be approved for the extended coverage, made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP), and made permanent by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA, 2023), which President Biden signed into law in December, 2022.

“For too long, our country has experienced a maternal health crisis in which women are dying before, during, and after childbirth at higher rates than in any other developed nation. We also know that Black, Native, and rural mothers are disproportionately losing their lives,” said Vice President Harris. “Since the day we took office, President Biden and I have worked to finally treat maternal mortality as the national crisis it is and expand access to high-quality postpartum care. That is why I called on states to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from two months to 12 months. Forty-five states have now done so, and I applaud Utah for joining so many others in answering my call – to the benefit of millions of women and children throughout America.”

“No woman should die from childbirth in the wealthiest nation in the world,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Forty-five states have now taken a critical step forward and extended continuous coverage for mothers for 12 months after giving birth. With this step, 4,000 women in Utah will now have the security and peace of mind that continuous coverage provides, during one of the most important times in a new parent’s life. The Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to partnering with the remaining five states to make sure people have this peace of mind, regardless of where they live.”

“I applaud Utah’s step to extend postpartum coverage to Medicaid and CHIP enrollees for a full year after pregnancy. This approval also marks a significant milestone towards achieving nationwide coverage of this benefit — and I urge the remaining five states to follow Utah’s footsteps and expand coverage of full benefits for an entire year postpartum in Medicaid and CHIP,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The Biden-Harris Administration continues to prioritize maternal health and the peace of mind that comprehensive health care coverage can offer new mothers and families.”

As a result of today’s announcement, an additional 4,000 people in Utah will be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage for an entire year after pregnancy. Medicaid covers 41% of all births in the nation and more than half of all children in the country. With the approval of Utah’s plan, 691,000 Americans across 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands now have access to extended postpartum coverage through ARP and the CAA. If all states adopted this option, – 725,000 people across the United States would be guaranteed Medicaid or CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.

Under this option, states may extend postpartum coverage through Medicaid and CHIP from the current mandatory 60-day period to 12 months. Utah is the most recent state to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage to 12 months following pregnancy, joining Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Illinois; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; the U.S. Virgin Islands; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; Washington, D.C.; West Virginia; and Wyoming. CMS continues to work with other states that have proposed adopting the ARP option to extend postpartum coverage to 12 months.

This option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage is part of ongoing efforts through 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.

States expanding postpartum coverage is especially crucial in light of the release of maternal mortality rates, which show that, in 2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States, compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019. One in three pregnancy-related deaths occurs between six weeks 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.

Visit Medicaid.gov to learn more about the Medicaid and CHIP state plan amendment extensions of postpartum coverage in Utah.

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