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Fleming: Pregnancy Medicaid expansion takes pivotal step forward, more work to be done

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville), a former registered nurse, nurse practitioner and obstetric practitioner, today released a statement on the passage of House Bill 1140.

Under House Bill 1140, postpartum Medicaid coverage is permanently extended from 60 days to 12 months beginning on the last day of pregnancy. The bill also expands access to care by increasing the Medicaid income eligibility requirements and removing the Medicaid limitation for pregnant women of medical assistance coverage only for pregnancy related services.

According to the most recent report from the Indiana Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), 86% of all maternal deaths occur in the postpartum period with the most common cause reported as a result of substance misuse disorder, followed by suicide and homicide. There is often an overlap of mental health comorbidities.

“While health care providers must continue to stay vigilant about common health conditions like diabetes and hypertension, the thoughtful report by the MMRC provides evidence-based data that allows us to identify and address the most common causes of maternal death in our state,” Fleming said. “HB 1140 is a great opportunity to initiate care for mothers and prolong it for one year postpartum. Extended coverage will make it easier to provide continuity of care and connect women with the resources they need, like referrals to medication assisted drug treatment centers.

“In the 2023 session, I plan to continue to build on the framework to improve women’s health in HB 1140 by easing access to birth control,” Fleming added. “In Indiana, about half of all pregnancies are unintended.  HB 1140 is a vital step in ensuring patients can access care that includes contraception to promote healthy intervals between pregnancies.

“I’m happy to see this bipartisan legislation aimed at improving maternal health outcomes move forward and provide a pathway that will lead to improved outcomes for maternal and infant health in our state,” Fleming said. “I look forward to ongoing discussions that will improve health systems, address social determinants of health and save lives.”

HB 1140 will now head to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

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