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Texas extends state postpartum healthcare benefits to one year

A pregnant woman stands for a portrait in Dallas. The Associated Press/Photo by LM Otero

Texas extends state postpartum healthcare benefits to one year

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said in a statement that the state will expand postpartum benefits under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to 12 months beginning on March 1. Women enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP had previously only been eligible for two months of postpartum coverage. Abbott last year signed House Bill 12 into law to expand the coverage, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January approved Texas’ request to extend the benefits.

What is included in the postpartum benefits? Medicaid covers the cost of prenatal doctor visits, prenatal vitamins, labor and delivery, and checkups for the baby. The program also covers vaccines, lab tests, and mental health care. Coverage is available for low-income women and families. Texas estimates that about 137,000 women will benefit from the extended coverage in fiscal year 2025. Federal law requires prenatal Medicaid programs to continue coverage for 60 days after birth.

Have other states extended their coverage? A total of 44 states have extended their postpartum coverage beyond 60 days, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Five states have pending state or federal efforts to extend their coverage, while Arkansas and Idaho are not actively considering extensions.

Lawmakers in Iowa on Feb. 19 approved a state Senate bill to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year. The bill would also lower the income threshold to qualify for coverage. The state House must still pass the bill before it goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds to be signed.

Dig deeper: Read my report in Relations about how a growing number of women in the United States are choosing to give birth and recover at home.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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