Waterbury, VT – In a vital step toward improving Vermonters’ health and well-being, the Department of Vermont Health Access has gained approval to lengthen the automatic Medicaid coverage period from 60 days to 12 months for members after their pregnancy ends. Medicaid will continue for 12 months following the end of a pregnancy regardless of most changes in circumstances, such as an increase in income. The change was recently approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
This is an example of a state initiative to preserve access to comprehensive health coverage for Vermonters. The new policy is designed to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities related to postpartum depression, smoking, substance use, physical health and health and well-being of the infant and others in the family.
“Access to high-quality health care in the months after pregnancy is critically important for both the parent and the child,” said Andrea De La Bruere, Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA). “Vermont Medicaid is thrilled that this extended benefit has been approved and can be offered to Vermonters covered by Medicaid statewide.”
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2022 gave states the option to extend Medicaid eligibility for 12 months after the end of a pregnancy. Changes in income and most other changes in circumstances Vermonters may undergo do not affect whether people qualify for Medicaid during pregnancy nor the period after the pregnancy ends, resulting in continuous Medicaid coverage.
Improving health outcomes for Vermonters enrolled in Medicaid is a priority for Vermont, and data show that Vermonters who give birth while on Medicaid have higher levels of postpartum depression and lower levels of postpartum check-ups. Medicaid-enrolled pregnant people are also more likely than people enrolled in commercial insurance to have a preterm birth or low birthweight baby.
“Ensuring Vermonters have access to health insurance after giving birth keeps the door open to affordable health care services,” said Adaline Strumolo, Deputy Commissioner of DVHA. “Vermont has among the most comprehensive Medicaid programs, and we can be proud that we are keeping Vermonters insured during the pivotal year after giving birth.”
For more information about the proposal, visit: Vermont Medicaid Postpartum Eligibility Expansion