North Carolina joins growing number of states extending Medicaid postpartum benefits

North Carolina will extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers up to 12 months postpartum, becoming the 24th state to do so, HHS said Sept. 22. 

West Virginia and Indiana extended postpartum benefits earlier in September. 

In total, these expansions will cover an estimated 361,000 people annually, HHS said. If all states chose to expand postpartum benefits, these would reach 720,000 people, according to the agency's estimates. 

"We are thrilled to have North Carolina join our efforts to support healthy parents and babies by offering critical coverage through the first full year after pregnancy," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. "The Biden-Harris Administration has made addressing the maternal health crisis an urgent priority, and actions like today's extension in North Carolina are a key part of our work." 

A recent report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association found maternal morbidity rates rose 9 percent among women with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and Medicaid from 2018 to 2020. The report called on private and public sector leaders to support expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage.

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