The AAMC joined more than 260 national and state organizations in a letter to acting Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Norris Cochran and acting Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Liz Richter urging them to approve pending Section 1115 demonstration project waivers extending postpartum coverage for individuals enrolled in Medicaid.
Several Section 1115 waivers are currently pending that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to enrollees beyond its current 60-day minimum, and the letter notes that the “Biden Administration has a unique opportunity to elevate maternal health among its Medicaid priorities by acting swiftly to approve these state requests.”
The letter emphasizes the importance of Medicaid to address maternal mortality in the United States by noting that “Medicaid paid for 43 percent of U.S. births in 2018, including 50 percent of births in rural areas, 60 percent of births to Latina women, and 66 percent of births to Black women.” It also highlights health risks that can occur postpartum, including postpartum depression, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related hypertension, and caesarean section recovery. These conditions, the letter states, are “major risks to becoming uninsured shortly after experiencing pregnancy” and “could be mitigated if women were able to maintain coverage through the Medicaid program.”
The letter asserts that many women who lose Medicaid coverage after 60 days become uninsured if they cannot find another source of insurance coverage and that this disruption is “one of many factors that contribute[s] to high rates of maternal mortality among the Medicaid-eligible population.”
“Our organizations appreciate President Biden’s stated commitments to improving maternal health and ending preventable maternal death in the United States. We urge CMS to act swiftly on these commitments by approving pending section 1115 demonstration projects to extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant individuals beyond 60 days postpartum,” the letter concludes.