Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Maura Quinlan, MD, MPH, FACOG, legislative chair of the Illinois Section of ACOG, regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approval of a request from the state of Illinois to extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant individuals to 12 months postpartum:
“ACOG applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approval of the first request from a state—Illinois—to give Medicaid-insured pregnant individuals a full year of coverage after the end of pregnancy. This historic approval sets a critical precedent not only for the states, but for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is also a welcome green light for governors and state legislatures across the country who are striving to improve maternal health.
“ACOG celebrates this momentous occasion, along with the 112 other national organizations and 151 state and local organizations that together urged CMS in February to approve pending waiver requests to extend postpartum coverage. We thank HHS for demonstrating its commitment to making maternal health a priority. Illinois was one of the first states to petition CMS to extend coverage during the postpartum period—but it won’t be the last.
“Currently, pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage ends 60 days postpartum, which falls woefully short of evidence-based recommendations. Our nation’s rate of maternal mortality is rising, and a growing body of evidence shows that many preventable pregnancy-related deaths occur due to chronic conditions such as heart disease and hypertension, and other causes including overdose and suicide, that occur after pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage ends.
“ACOG has been the leading voice advocating at all levels of government to extend Medicaid coverage to at least one year postpartum, recognizing the critical role Medicaid plays in the health of moms and babies.
“Last month, ACOG applauded the provision in the American Rescue Plan Act that was signed into law giving states a more streamlined pathway to extend Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum. The action from HHS and CMS signals to states that there is no one way to achieve this policy.
“It’s time that all pregnant individuals have coverage for at least one year postpartum so that we can work to eliminate preventable maternal deaths nationwide. ACOG celebrates the approval of the Illinois waiver and encourages states to keep moving this policy forward. We also encourage CMS to act on additional pending waivers and to work swiftly to release guidance on the new state plan option to extend coverage that was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Moms can’t wait.”