The maternal mortality crisis and the compounding COVID-19 public health emergency demonstrate just how necessary it is to ensure equal access to quality health care. ACOG continues to advocate to Members of Congress and the Administration about the importance of continuous access to insurance coverage for the full 12-month postpartum period. This advocacy includes a recent letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to include legislation to extend postpartum coverage for new moms on Medicaid in any forthcoming COVID-19 legislation. Additionally, ACOG recently wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to approve all pending and forthcoming Section 1115 waiver requests from the states to implement a postpartum coverage extension.
Join these efforts today: use our advocacy tool to urge the Administration to prioritize these critical waivers!
ACOG’s advocacy is evidence-based. Several recent studies analyzing the impact of health care coverage for pregnant and postpartum women have found that continuing coverage for 12 months, instead of the currently mandated 60 days, would vastly benefit new moms.
Researchers from the Urban Institute found that roughly half of all uninsured new mothers reported that losing Medicaid or other coverage after pregnancy was the reason they were uninsured. Importantly, about one-third of new moms who lost Medicaid were recovering from a cesarean section, and over one-quarter reported experiencing depression in the months after giving birth. This study demonstrates the important gaps that could be filled by extending postpartum coverage. Similarly, the Health Care Cost Institute found that for women with private coverage, the majority of health care spending in the 12 months postpartum occurred between 90 days and one year postpartum, typically due to low-frequency, high-cost care such as surgery, emergency room visits, and ambulance services. This new evidence affirms that insurance coverage is imperative to women’s health and highlights the inequities of taking coverage away from women on Medicaid 60 days after the end of pregnancy.
In addition to the letters highlighted above, ACOG recently partnered with the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, March of Dimes, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine to produce a suite of resources to help advance this policy at the federal and state level. A new partnership with the Equitable Maternal Health Coalition will also help us continue to strengthen our advocacy for extending postpartum coverage as well as other policies that support safe, affordable, sustainable, and intentionally equitable access to care.
Read more about ACOG’s evidence-based strategies to combat the nation’s maternal mortality crisis, and take action today to urge the Administration to prioritize women’s health by approving pending Section 1115 waivers to extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant women beyond 60 days postpartum.