Kansas expands postpartum Medicaid coverage up to 12 months

By: - July 27, 2022 10:53 am

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Tuesday that Kansas was expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage up to 12 months post-delivery retroactive to April 1. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Kansas mothers now have health care coverage under KanCare up to 12 months post-delivery, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Tuesday.

The plan, approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is retroactive to April 1. It also extends coverage to postpartum beneficiaries of the more than 500,000 Kansans enrolled in Kansas Medicaid of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

“Our efforts to expand health care coverage have paid off, benefiting moms and giving babies a stronger start to life,” Kelly said. “This bipartisan work will reduce maternal mortality, improve child development, and save Kansans money on vital health care.”

Before the extension, mothers on Medicaid lost access to medical and behavioral health care after two months postpartum.

Under Medicaid, new mothers have access to comprehensive coverage including routine check-ups, breastfeeding support, family planning and more. These mothers also have access to certain dental services.

“This policy change, approved today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is welcome news and is a win for all Kansans,” said David Jordan, president and CEO of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. “It will positively impact thousands of Kansas mothers each year — reducing maternal mortality, improving health outcomes, and reducing disparities.”

Kansas, along with Connecticut and Massachusetts, was given access to Medicaid’s CHIP coverage. In addition to broadening therapy for mothers, the extension of services could result in a higher rate of women seeking well-child visits and immunizations for their children.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, a Wichita Republican, said she was grateful to the state for taking this step to improve maternal health care.

“As a mother, I know how important the first year is and this enhanced period of care for Kansas mothers is vital for their mental health, their baby’s health and their families,” Landwehr said.

This option for the state was made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Kansas are the latest states to receive approval to extend coverage joining 16 other states and Washington D.C.

Medicaid covers 42% of all births in the nation.

Janet Stanek, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said this would help close gaps between health outcomes by ensuring all communities have a better course toward health.

“The first year after giving birth is a crucial period for both mom and baby,” Stanek said. This extension not only improves maternal health options to those who may not have previously benefited but also provides uninterrupted health care coverage stability.”

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.