Extend Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum

Prevention, Early Intervention, & Youth
Parity, Coverage, & Equitable Access
social determinants of health
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Coverage & Standards
Federal department
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house committees
House Energy and Commerce Committee
senate committees
Senate Finance Committee


Congress should require states to extend Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum.


The postpartum period is a critical time for maternal mental and physical health. Extending Medicaid coverage can ensure that mothers have access to health care services during this period. The postpartum period is a time when women are at increased risk of developing health complications such as postpartum depression, psychosis, hypertension, infections, and cardiomyopathy.

Medicaid covers more than 40 percent of all births. Federal law requires states to provide pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for up to 60 days after delivery for pregnant people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Research demonstrates that expanding postpartum coverage beyond 60 days has many benefits for the mother and her baby. One study found that women who gave birth used twice as many postpartum services and three times the number of mental health and substance use services when they had coverage in the postpartum period.[1] The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about 720,000 people annually would receive Medicaid postpartum coverage if states were to expand postpartum coverage to one year.[2]

The American Rescue Plan Act gave states the option to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months using temporary state plan amendments, sunsetting after five years.[3] The Consolidated Appropriations Act made the state option to extend the postpartum coverage period for 12 months permanent.[4] As of July 2023, 46 states had either expanded Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months postpartum or were in the process of doing so.[5]

In addition to encouraging states to expand postpartum coverage, Congress should require states to extend the postpartum coverage period for 12 months, rather than making it optional as it is under current law.


1. Clark, Maggie. “Early Research Shows Benefits of One Year of Postpartum Medicaid.” Georgetown Center for Children and Families. Last Accessed December 16, 2022.

2. Gordon, Sarah, Amelia Whitman, Sarah Sugar, Lucy Chen, Christie Peters, Nancy De Lew, and Benjamin Sommers. 2023. “Medicaid after Pregnancy: State-Level Implications of Extending Postpartum Coverage (2023 Update).” ASPE - Office of Health Policy. Last Accessed April 7, 2023.

3. The American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319 (Yarmuth), 117th Congress (2021-2022). Last Accessed February 2021.

4. Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 2617 (Connolly-Hice), 117th Congress (2021-2022). Last Accessed April 2021.

5. Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid Postpartum Coverage Extension Tracker. Last Accessed July 20, 2023.