Indiana has elected to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months, acting quickly to take advantage of a new federal policy created through the American Rescue Plan Act. Prior to this action Medicaid coverage would generally continue for just 60 days after childbirth, potentially creating a coverage gap during a high risk period for new mothers.
Venessa Summers, an Indiana State Representative also on staff with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, had championed the extension legislatively. “Eighty-seven percent of pregnancy-associated deaths occurred postpartum, with a significant portion of those coming six weeks after giving birth,” commented Representative Summers on the news of the extension. “By expanding Medicaid coverage, we are providing mothers with the continued care they need to survive and be around to raise their babies.”
Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, was excited to be taking the action and noted that this step would “further enhance Governor Holcomb’s Best in the Midwest by 2024 initiative for infant mortality, as well as the IDOH My Healthy Baby program.” She added “Our efforts to achieve Indiana’s historic low infant mortality rate will be bolstered by this important policy.”
Funding to cover the projected state share of the extension was added to the state biennial budget, which has since been passed by the Indiana House and Senate. Current policies prevent new moms from losing Medicaid coverage as long as the COVID public health emergency (PHE) declaration is in place. The new state policy will officially take effect in April of 2022; no gap is expected between the end of the PHE and the start of the new policy.