Bauer applauds expansion of lifesaving postpartum Medicaid coverage for Hoosier women

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend) today applauded the approval of Indiana’s expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage made possible by the Federal American Rescue Plan. In a statement last month (Mar. 16), the legislator urged for this expansion.

“With the General Assembly failing to pass any substantial legislation helping pregnant women this session, I am pleased to see Governor Holcomb stand by his word and implement lifesaving care for Hoosier women,” Bauer said. 

The Indiana Maternal Mortality Review Committee 2020 Annual Report identified expanding Medicaid one year postpartum as a way to eliminate future preventable maternal loss. Indiana has the third-highest maternal mortality rate in the country. 

The report was dedicated to the 63 Indiana women who died within one year of pregnancy in 2018. The goal was to “learn from their stories and prevent heartbreak in the future.”

About 87% of pregnancy-associated deaths took place postpartum. Black mothers are disproportionately affected, dying of preventable causes at 3 times the rate of white mothers. 

Women in Indiana will now be able to receive Medicaid coverage up to a year post birth, replacing the current coverage of only 60 days.

“The prior 60 days of postpartum Medicaid coverage was not nearly enough to address the physical and mental needs of women after giving birth,” Bauer added. “We lost mothers because of this lack of access to affordable health care.”

Medicaid covered the costs of 43% of births in 2018, with two-thirds of these women receiving prenatal care during their first trimester. Six months after birth, half of pregnant women were uninsured.

“As we raise awareness to this issue during Black Maternal Health Week, we honor and celebrate birth equity and a healthier future for mothers in Indiana,” Bauer said.

The expansion is popular among healthcare officials, and Hoosiers in House District 6, with 75% of residents agreeing that Medicaid coverage should be expanded 12 months postpartum to help reduce maternal mortality.

“All session, we have fought to get mothers the care that they need and deserve,” Bauer said. “I celebrate this win today and will continue fighting to further improve access to quality healthcare.”

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