Federal decision ‘critical to ensuring health and well-being of mothers and their babies’
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has approved Oregon’s request to expand Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, known as Oregon Health Plan (OHP), to one year postpartum.
The change, approved and announced Wednesday, will allow individuals to maintain continuous OHP coverage and access medically necessary physical, oral and behavioral health services for 12 months after childbirth.
Currently, most states continue pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for only 60 days after childbirth. The expansion of coverage was made possible by a new state plan opportunity included in the American Rescue Plan.
Medicaid covers 42% of births in the nation. A report published by the HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) highlights the inequity that rates in pregnancy-related deaths are two to three times higher among black non-Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native populations compared to white populations. The report further explains that one in three pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year after childbirth. The extension of coverage is aimed at advancing Oregon Health Authority’s goal of eliminating health inequities by 2030.
The postpartum period is an important time for physical recovery; addressing pregnancy spacing and family planning needs; managing chronic conditions that may have been exacerbated during pregnancy; providing breastfeeding support; and ensuring mental health.
“Providing postpartum support and care is critical to ensuring the health and well-being of mothers and their babies,” states Interim State Medicaid Director Dana Hittle.
For assistance applying for the Oregon Health Plan, contact the Malheur County Health Department at 541-889-7279.