In an effort to close out the health disparity gap, and amid rising maternal mortality rates in the nation, Gov. Whitmer announced earlier this month that Medicaid coverage for mothers in postpartum is now expanding to a 12-month period. The expansion will draw from federal funding through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and aims at improving healthcare for both mothers and babies in the state.
“By extending these critical, 12-month postpartum benefits, we can improve long-term outcomes for moms and babies and close health disparities,” announced Gov. Whitmer, highlighting better access to mental health resources, screenings and treatments as keys for positive long-term health outcomes for mothers and families.
As of 2018, it’s estimated that at least half of the maternal deaths that have occured in Michigan have been preventable.
The new benefits mark a significant extension to coverage over previous requirements, where Medicaid recipients only had coverage up until the last day of the month in which their 60-day postpartum period ended. This effectively meant that coverage, at maximum, lasted upwards of around 90 days for mothers in the state.
Approximately $20 million will be budgeted towards expanding benefits for a full year after pregnancy, ensuring that an estimated 35,000 mothers will have better access to crucial health services in Michigan.
The expanded services aim at reducing the maternal mortality rate in the state, providing health services that would address common problems like diabetes and cardiac conditions, as well as provide mental health resources and recovery networks for those experiencing postpartum depression and substance abuse, respectively.
“As a mom of two, I know firsthand how vital it is for every mom to have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare to care for herself and her new baby,” noted Gov. Whitmer.