Governor Janet Mills announced this week that, starting in August, her administration will extend postpartum Medicaid health coverage to a year.

How Long is the Current Coverage for Postpartum Care?

Currently, postpartum health care coverage lasts for 60 days, which is hardly enough for mothers who suffered complications from childbirth or who may be experiencing mental health issues. And the lasting effects of a new mother suffering from postpartum depression, and unable to get the help she needs, could be tragic.

When Does the New Plan Begin?

So, beginning on August 1st, 2022, postpartum Medicaid health care coverage will last 12 months, a move that's intended to improve maternal health and ensure that women don't lose access to the care they need. This will cover things like recovery from childbirth, follow-up on pregnancy complications, management of chronic health conditions, access to family planning, and help for mental health conditions. The Mills' administration estimates an additional 2,000 women per year in Maine will be eligible to take advantage of the measure. In 2020, 39% of all Maine births were covered by health care through MaineCare, Maine's Medicaid program.

Why Is Postpartum Coverage Important?

 

Experts with the Kaiser Family Foundation say postpartum care is an ongoing process that typically involves multiple visits and follow-up care that lasts longer than the previously-allowed 60 days. This move comes at a time when they say studies show an increase in suicidality among pregnant and postpartum women, particularly over the past decade. Their statistics show that at least one in ten women experience some perinatal depression.

Other states that have adopted similar measures include Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois, California, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia.

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