During the pandemic Medicaid postponed disenrollment for hundreds of Wyo moms, extending their access to care after birth. Lawmakers consider adopting an extension through 2027.

By Sofia Jeremias, WyoFile

Wyoming lawmakers aim to improve pregnancy outcomes for moms and their babies. The item is the top interim priority for the Joint Health, Labor and Social Services Committee, which took it up during a meeting last week in Riverton.

One potential solution involves extending postpartum Medicaid coverage, which covers 33% of births in Wyoming, up to a year after the baby is born. No new groups of people would be eligible for the program, but thousands of pregnant Wyoming women enrolled in Medicaid could benefit from the proposal.

LSO’s report noted that over half of pregnancy-related deaths happen within a year of giving birth, and extending coverage could potentially reduce these deaths while improving care for a host of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac conditions, substance use disorder and depression.

Conditions like postpartum depression can last for years and advocates of the extension say the current 60-day postpartum coverage period doesn’t always allow enough time to access treatment for mental health and other ailments.

How it would work

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states can elect to extend postpartum coverage for Medicaid recipients from the usual 60 days up to a year through a simple State Plan Amendment process.