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News / Missouri Extends Postpartum Medicaid Coverage

Missouri Extends Postpartum Medicaid Coverage

Published Jan 31, 2024

Postpartum Medicaid coverage in Missouri has expanded from 60 days to one year under legislation signed into law in 2023. The Department of Social Services estimates the extension will cover more than 4,000 people who would otherwise go uninsured two months after the end of pregnancy.

Missouri had the 12th-highest maternal mortality in the nation from 2018 to 2020, and three-quarters of pregnancy-related deaths in the state — or roughly 138 people — were preventable, the Missouri Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Board found last year.

It found that each year an average of 61 Missouri women died while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy, putting the state’s pregnancy-related mortality ratio at 25.2 deaths per 100,000 births. Overall, 74.5% of deaths were determined to be preventable — with a little over half of those deaths occurring between 43 days and one year postpartum.

The report found racial disparities continued to persist in which women of color are at a higher risk of dying during or after childbirth.

“Missouri’s maternal mortality rate is frighteningly high, in particular for moms of color,” said Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City. “This new law will save lives and make Missouri a safer, healthier place for new moms and their babies.”

Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C., had already implemented the extension before Missouri.

“If we want healthy babies, we have to have healthy mamas,” Sen. Elaine Gannon, R-De Soto, who sponsored a version of the legislation, said in an interview. “There are several postpartum illnesses that can creep up,” she said, citing postpartum depression and heart issues, which may not be obvious within 60 days of birth.

Gov. Mike Parson, in his annual State of the State address in 2023, committed to tackling Missouri’s high maternal mortality rate, calling the state’s low ranking nationally “embarrassing and absolutely unacceptable” and the fact that three-quarters of maternal deaths in the state are preventable a “tragic Missouri statistic.”

Qualifying patients can apply for Medicaid coverage here.

Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies – a collaboration between several state agencies – compiled a communications toolkit for providers and partners to spread the word and connect women to quality health care and supportive resources that will provide healthy, successful pregnancy and postpartum experiences for both mom and baby.


maternal care