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Ky. to extend Medicaid coverage up to 12 months after birth

A woman holds a baby.
Zach Lucero, unSplash
Norton Children's will start providing COVID-19 vaccines to children 6 months and up on Friday.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given Kentucky the green light to extend Medicaid for parents who have given birth and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) for babies up to a year after birth. 

It’s one of 11 states recently approved to extend coverage, and comes after the Biden Administration notified Medicaid agencies in December of a change under the American Rescue Plan Act that would allow states to amend their Medicaid plans, according to a news release.

In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services reports that this will mean approximately 10,000 people will have coverage beyond the two-month window to a full year after delivering. Kentucky's extension is for the next five years. 

The change was supported both by the Ky. Legislature, through its passage of Senate Bill 178, and Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Ensuring the health and safety of mothers and children is critically important not only for Kentucky families, but in building a brighter and healthier future for our Commonwealth,” Beshear said in a statement. “We have made great strides over the past few years to expand health coverage for Kentuckians, but we must do more, and we are grateful for the opportunity to expand care to more women under the Medicaid program.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that one in three pregnancy-related deaths happens between a week and a year after birth. 

And there is more risk among people of color than white parents. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2019 that Black, American Indian and Alaska Native people are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white peers. 

California, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and Illinois have also been approved to extend the coverage. 

Parents can apply for Medicaid and KCHIP through these state websites.

This story has been updated. 

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.