Michigan announces expansion on Medicaid coverage for moms, babies

Officials say that infant mortality rate in Michigan is 38th highest in the nation

Pexels photo

LANSING, Mich.Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that the state will be expanding Medicaid coverage.

With the insurance expansion, coverage has been approved for a full 12-month postpartum period for moms and babies. This expansion is part of Whitmer’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative.

“By extending these critical, 12-month postpartum benefits, we can improve long-term outcomes for moms and babies and close health disparities. We will continue working together to ensure every family can thrive with access to behavioral health services, screenings, and treatments to lead healthy and successful lives,” state Whitmer.

According to the state’s press release, the $20 million budgeted for this expansion will help an estimated 35,000 pregnant and postpartum people in Michigan annually.

Michigan’s Maternal Mortality Surveillance Committee announced that as of January 2018, 50% of maternal deaths in the state of Michigan are preventable. The state also reports Detroit’s maternal death rate is three times the national average.

“I have long supported legislation to make this extension of postpartum care permanent, and I am so grateful to have an ally in this fight in Governor Whitmer,” said Senator Winnie Brinks. “New moms and their health care providers agree that current standards of postpartum care are antiquated, especially in communities where health disparities exist. This is a huge step towards ensuring every new mom gets the care and support she needs, and we know healthy moms have healthy babies, laying the foundation for a healthy life.”

The press release states that current Medicaid recipients do not need to take any new actions to receive extended postpartum coverage. The extension will automatically apply 12 months after the reported baby delivery date.

“Being able to ensure continuity of care for Michigan moms and babies is critical to reducing preventable deaths and will lead to better long-term health outcomes for new parents and newborns,” said Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Elizabeth Hertel. “Extending Medicaid postpartum coverage will assist the state in its continued efforts to improve access to care for all Michigan families and equitable health outcomes.”

To apply for Medicaid or other medical assistance programs, go to Michigan.Gov/MIBridges.

Related: Detroit reports lowest infant mortality rate in decades

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.