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KY’s request to expand Medicaid coverage to a full 12-month postpartum period approved by CMS

In an effort to improve maternal and child health outcomes and increase access to life-saving health care services for more Kentuckians, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky’s request to expand Medicaid coverage to a full 12-month postpartum period has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Ensuring the health and safety of mothers and children is critically important not only for Kentucky families, but in building a brighter and healthier future for our Commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have made great strides over the past few years to expand health coverage for Kentuckians, but we must do more, and we are grateful for the opportunity to expand care to more women under the Medicaid program.”

Kentucky joins three other states – California, Florida and Oregon – in recently obtaining approval from CMS and is among a handful of states that have opted to expand postpartum coverage for women, which is critical in addressing health issues that can affect women and children in the period following childbirth. States that previously received approval from CMS include South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and Illinois.

“Medicaid expansion and our new state-based marketplace, kynect, are examples of our commitment to ensuring access to health care for all Kentuckians,” Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said. “Kentucky is excited about extending postpartum coverage to 12 months and would like to thank our partners at CMS who assisted us with the state plan process that allows us to move forward with this important initiative.”

In December of 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration notified Medicaid agencies of a change that would allow states to extend postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months through a simple Medicaid State Plan Amendment beginning on April 1, 2022.

“Under Gov. Beshear’s leadership and with bipartisan support from the General Assembly, Kentucky is focused on providing a continuum of health care coverage across the Commonwealth,” Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said. “Currently, more than half of Kentucky’s children are covered in Medicaid or KCHIP, and each year we cover half of all births in the state.”

“Expansion of postpartum coverage will ensure approximately 10,000 women remain covered in Medicaid and KCHIP after giving birth,” Kentucky Medicaid Commissioner Lisa Lee said. “This coverage will allow them to access medical services to make sure their health care needs, as well as the health care needs of their babies, continue to be met.”

According to a report published by the HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 1 in 3 pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year after childbirth in the United States. 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.

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