FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2022
Contact:
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

DHS to Request 30-day Extension of Medicaid Coverage for Women After Pregnancy

Federal government’s approval would increase coverage from 60 to 90 days

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is submitting a request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for an additional 30 days of Medicaid coverage for women after pregnancy. Currently, women receive 60 days of coverage after giving birth. Approval of the DHS request by CMS would increase coverage to 90 days.

“Every Wisconsinite should have access to quality, affordable health care. Extending coverage for as long as possible in this critical time helps to protect the health of both mothers and their kids,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “It is vital that after giving birth, mothers have the health care coverage they need so that they can get the care they need and, in turn, support our kids and keep them healthy, too.”

Postpartum health care services can include follow-up care for delivery complications, essential care for the management of chronic conditions, family planning, and behavioral health care for the management of common conditions like postpartum depression. According to the 2017 Annual Wisconsin Birth and Infant Mortality Report, 41% of mothers had one or more medical risk factors that put them at higher risk for pregnancy complications or poor birth outcomes. The rate for pregnancy-related deaths for Black mothers in Wisconsin is five times that of white mothers, and Black infant mortality is the highest in the nation.

“Ensuring consistent access to health care for parents before, during, and after pregnancy is important for babies to get their best start in life,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Wisconsin’s children are our future, and we at DHS are committed to supporting healthy birth outcomes and eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in our state.”

2021 Wis. Act 58 requires DHS to submit an application for a federal Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration project to extend the duration of postpartum coverage to the last day of the month 90 days after the last day of pregnancy. DHS will hold public hearings and engage in tribal consultation prior to submitting its application to CMS later this year.