Iowa would join 44 other states in extending post-partum care under Medicaid

DES MOINES — An Iowa Senate subcommittee has given unanimous approval to the governor’s proposal to extend Medicaid coverage of postpartum care for new moms for 12 months after their babies are born. Current law provides coverage for 60 days after birth for Iowans with an annual income below 375% of the federal poverty level. The governor’s proposal lowers that cap to 215%.

Iowa Health and Human Services director Kelly Garcia says Iowa’s current income Medicaid eligibility for pregnant moms is the highest in the country.  “The concept is to bring our (Federal Poverty Level) in line with other states,” Garcia says, “and to use those investment dollars to extend coverage.”

Blank Children’s Hospital lobbyist Chaney Yeast says the lower threshold will hurt working moms who aren’t getting health insurance coverage from their employer.  “We have a maternal mortality crisis. We have an infant mortality crisis,” Yeast says. “This is a single policy lever that you can pull to improve the health of moms and babies but also support our workforce.”

Iowa is among a handful of states that has not extended Medicaid coverage of postpartum care for a year after a child is born. The national group that represents O-B/G-Y-Ns says postpartum check-ups should include discussions about emotional well-being and care of the baby as well as a physical exam.