Beginning in October, all 50 states and D.C. will prioritize dental coverage for Medicaid enrollees who are pregnant or postpartum through at least 60 days after pregnancy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Sept. 22.
Extending Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage is part of ongoing efforts through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House "to address disparities in maternal health outcomes by opening the door to postpartum care for hundreds of thousands of people," CMS said in a news release .
The ADA has praised CMS for its proactive and health equitable approach to developing and implementing a comprehensive access strategy in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. In an April 6 response to the agency's request for information, the ADA asked for CMS to support oral health coverage for pregnant and postpartum people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.
"Medicaid is a primary payer of maternity care in the U.S., covering nearly half of all births nationwide," said ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S." The ADA applauds the CMS decision to prioritize oral health in pregnant and postpartum patients."
Also on Sept. 22, the agency announced it had approved the extension of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in North Carolina. CMS estimated that 361,000 Americans in 24 states and D.C are also now eligible for that length of coverage. With the extension North Carolina joins California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia and West Virginia.
"The Biden-Harris Administration has made addressing the maternal health crisis an urgent priority, and actions like today's extension in North Carolina are a key part of our work," said Xavier Becerra, HHS secretary. "We are continuing to do all we can to strengthen Medicaid and CHIP and ensure all families and children get the high-quality, affordable health care they deserve."
For more information, download the Supporting Maternal Health Through Medicaid & the Children's Health Insurance Program fact sheet.
Follow all of the ADA's advocacy articles at ADA.org/Advocacy.