Oklahomans Get Extended Pregnancy Coverage Under Medicaid
WASHINGTON — Women in Oklahoma are now the beneficiaries of a full 12 months of comprehensive coverage after pregnancy under a change in policy announced this past week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Oklahoma is the 30th state to be approved for the extended coverage, made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and made permanent by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which Biden signed into law earlier this year.
With the addition of the qualifying population in Oklahoma of about 14,000 women, a total 462,000 Americans across 30 states and the District of Columbia are now eligible for essential care for a full year after pregnancy.
Medicaid covers 41% of all births in the nation and more than half of all children in the country.
In total, an estimated 462,000 Americans have now expanded access to postpartum coverage.
If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States would be guaranteed Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for 12 months after pregnancy, CMS said.
“I applaud Oklahoma and all of the 30 states and Washington, D.C., who have extended postpartum coverage for a full year after pregnancy, a vital step to improve maternal health,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a written statement.
“Inspired by the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their determination to confront the nation’s maternal mortality and morbidity crisis, we will continue to support policies to help ensure the health of mothers and babies. I urge all states yet to extend postpartum coverage to do so,” he added.
States expanding postpartum coverage is especially crucial in light of the recent 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 occur 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, CMS said.
The other states and district extending their Medicaid coverage for 12 months following pregnancy to date are: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue