RALEIGH, NC – April 4, 2022 – New mothers can now receive full Medicaid coverage for one year after delivery, as a new bipartisan state law expanding services took effect last week. This is a provision included in last year’s state budget extending postpartum Medicaid benefits from 60 days. According to the CDC, many pregnancy-related deaths occur from 60 days to 1 year postpartum and are preventable such as post-partum depression and mental health issues. Most pregnant women and those whose pregnancies have ended will receive full Medicaid benefits, not just the maternity-focused benefit as previously provided. Deputy Secretary for North Carolina Medicaid Dave Richard said in a press release, “This extended coverage is an important component to help improve the health of families in our state.”
Postpartum Medicaid benefits for people who gave birth have been expanded during the pandemic due to a provision in the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers new parents until the end of the federal COVID public health emergency on April 16th. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gave states the ability and the money to extend postpartum coverage to 12 months.
While the state has expanded Medicaid for pregnant people, it has yet to expand Medicaid for the remainder of low-income workers, low-income people with children, and people with disabilities. Currently, North Carolina is one of just 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid. Medicaid expansion became possible as a result of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. However, the North Carolina state legislature has formed a bipartisan committee to study Medicaid expansion and access to health care as required by the 2022 state budget signed by Governor Cooper. Medicaid expansion would increase coverage of households with an income below 100% of the federal poverty line to 138%, providing healthcare access to one-half million more people. Dave Richard opines, “I hope we can build on this important step by expanding Medicaid in North Carolina to further support maternal health and reduce infant mortality by improving health before the pregnancy.”
Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org