Oregon’s postpartum care health coverage expanded to 12 months


Shane Ersland


Oregon’s health coverage for postpartum care will be extended from 60 days to 12 months following an announcement made Wednesday by CMS.


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CMS announced that Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage will be expanded to 12 months postpartum in Oregon, California, Florida, and Kentucky. The expansion is expected to support care for approximately 126,000 families in those states, including 7,000 parents in Oregon.

Liz Baerco-owner of MidValley Birthing Services in Albanysaid the expansion of coverage will be important for Oregonians, as several health issues can arise in the first year following a birth.

“A mom can have postpartum depression, and if they lose their coverage, they can’t treat that,” Baer said. “It’s pretty common; 10-15% of moms are diagnosed with postpartum depression. Treatment is happening throughout that first year and people still need coverage.”

It is also common for new mothers to require assistance for breastfeeding issues, Baer said.

“Some people think moms are getting that down the first couple days, but challenges can come up at any point,” she said. “They may need to see a lactation consultant or physician for that.”

Some new moms may require physical therapy sessions as well. Some physical therapists don’t want them to start sessions until six weeks after a birth, giving them time to heal, Baer said.

The expansion of coverage in Oregon, California, and Kentucky was made possible due to an American Rescue Plan provision made last year that allows states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage of postpartum care without applying for a waiver. All states were eligible to begin expanded coverage on April 1st, and the expansion will be available for five years. Florida will offer expanded coverage through a Medicaid and CHIP Section 1115 demonstration.

The four states joined South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Illinois in extending Medicaid and CHIP coverage from 60 days to 12 months for postpartum care. The expansion has also been proposed in Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.

“I applaud California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon for joining a cadre of states in giving families one of the greatest gifts we can; the peace of mind of health coverage, particularly in the critical post-partum period,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a press release. “The American Rescue Plan gives all states an easier pathway to extend postpartum coverage beyond the critical first weeks for a new family, which can put all our communitiesparticularly those hard hit by health disparitieson a better course toward health and well-being.”

Medicaid covers 42% of the country’s births. One in three pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year after childbirth, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.