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Alabama & Georgia Moms Are Getting More Support: What does the Medicaid Expansion Mean for You?

"Medicaid extension throws postpartum parents a lifeline! Post-partum disruptions like losing health care coverage or not having consistent access to a primary care provider can lead to worse health outcomes, including preventable death. And these tragic statistics are worse in Black and brown communities, and are a grim reminder of the influence of systemic racism in U.S. health care. Black women have died due to pregnancy and childbirth at disproportionate rates for years, steadily increasing since 2018. In 2020, Black women accounted for 55.3 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births – nearly three times the rate of white women, according to the CDC."

Continued reference from Laura Santhanam, PBS News Hour (April 8, 2022):

A new provision guarantees access to health care via Medicaid for residents of some states during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives – the months following childbirth.

Four out of 10 births in the U.S. are paid for by Medicaid, the public health insurance program that covers nearly 79 million people nationwide. Women who are normally disqualified from Medicaid because of an income cut-off but don’t make enough to afford other insurance are granted special eligibility during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people who gave birth under Medicaid lost their coverage 60 days after delivery, if they didn’t otherwise qualify to stay in the program. This is especially true in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But when the Trump administration declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, people on Medicaid received continuous coverage, so they did not have to worry about re-enrolling or potentially losing their health insurance in the middle of the pandemic.

The benefits of that unprecedented extension of coverage may have laid the groundwork for more lasting effects. Congress made sure more generous postpartum benefits – 12 months of health coverage under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – would be available under the American Rescue Plan last year, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offered guidance to states about this option in December. The extension, which kicked in April 1, has made an estimated 720,000 pregnant and postpartum people eligible to receive those benefits.

For Maternal Mortality, the state of Alabama ranks #3 and Georgia ranks #1. Medicaid expansion in the states mean that more moms will be able to access the critical resources, support and care at the most vulnerable time in their pregnancy journey. Additionally, the full year timeline will help ensure that both mom and baby can continue to pursue a healthy and safe lifestyle post-delivery.

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