Hoosier women whose pregnancy care or delivery is covered by Medicaid are now permitted to remain enrolled in the federal-state health program, regardless of their family income, for up to one year after giving birth.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently approved the request of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for a full year, instead of the prior limit of 60 days.

Indiana initially extended its postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year beginning in April using funding provided to the state through the American Rescue Plan.

The latest approval ensures the extended Medicaid health coverage remains available for an estimated 12,000 women in Indiana through March 31, 2027.

"Ensuring mothers get the care they need after giving birth is a core part of our effort to address the nation’s maternal health crisis," said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, now 333,000 families across the nation can access health care coverage for a full year after pregnancy — and have the peace of mind that comes with it," he added.

The postpartum coverage period, which includes all health needs — not just pregnancy or post-pregnancy care, is available to any individual who meets one of the following criteria:

• Becomes pregnant while already enrolled in traditional Medicaid, the Healthy Indiana Plan or Hoosier Healthwise;
• Applies and is eligible for Medicaid while pregnant;
• Applies for Medicaid after the child is born and was both pregnant and eligible in the month of application or one of the three months prior to the application month.

FSSA Secretary Dr. Dan Rusyniak said ensuring access to quality health care for a full year following the birth of a child is significant because more than 40% of Indiana births each year are paid for by Medicaid.

"Since more than half of postpartum complications occur after six weeks, extending coverage to a full year will help meet Gov. Eric Holcomb’s goal of reducing Indiana’s maternal mortality rate," Rusyniak said.

The governor's office was directed to seek federal approval for extended postpartum Medicaid coverage under a new law overwhelmingly approved on a bipartisan basis in March by the Indiana General Assembly.

House Enrolled Act 1140 was co-sponsored by six Northwest Indiana lawmakers, including state Reps. Pat Boy, D-Michigan City; Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary; Carolyn Jackson, D-Hammond; and Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point; and state Sens. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores; and Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.

In contrast, the American Rescue Plan was approved by the Democratic-controlled Congress without support from any Republicans representing Indiana, or even any Republicans serving in Washington, D.C.

The only Hoosier lawmakers to back the plan were Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank J. Mrvan, who represents Northwest Indiana in the House, and U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis.

Federal approval of extended postpartum Medicaid coverage in Indiana comes just before a near-total abortion ban takes effect Thursday in the Hoosier State.

Up to 8,000 additional births are expected each year in Indiana as a result of Senate Enrolled Act 1 barring all abortions from the moment of conception, with time-limited exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, fatal fetal anomalies, or when physical impairment or death is likely if a woman continues a pregnancy.
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