The American Rescue Plan provides states with the ability to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum depression from 60 days to one year. Pennsylvania has opted in and will extend its coverage starting April 1.
Nearly 60% of all people who died from pregnancy-related causes in Pennsylvania died between six weeks and one year after they gave birth. While Medicaid covers about 30% of births in the state, it covers the parent for only 60 days after delivery.
That is set to change soon.
“It’s clear that 60 days of postpartum coverage is not only insufficient, it’s also dangerous,” state Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) said during a recent news conference.
The American Rescue Plan provides a federal option for states to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum depression from 60 days to one year. The Wolf administration announced last year that Pennsylvania would opt in and extend coverage starting the beginning of next month. The extension will be available for five years.
The Medicaid expansion also includes access to a home visiting program, monthly parent meetings, and routine screenings to identify postpartum depression.
“It is important that we prioritize our resources in ways that will ensure better health outcomes for all Pennsylvanians,” state Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery) said. “By extending Medicaid coverage to one year, we are improving maternal mortality and morbidity, improving childhood health outcomes, and ensuring a healthy start for Pennsylvania families.”
Postpartum depression affects one in seven Pennsylvanians, or about 21,000 women.