In 2022, Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation to extend health care benefits to 12 months for postpartum women enrolled in Medicaid. This week, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency, submitted a request for federal approval to implement this extended coverage to all enrolled members who are or become pregnant.
“This year, Arizona passed a historic budget that will continue to prioritize the lives and livelihoods of our residents,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “I’m proud that our budget will ensure that low-income mothers have the health care services they need during pregnancy and in that critical first year of life.”
“Extending Medicaid postpartum benefits will provide increased access to services that can address pregnancy-related complications that contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Sara Salek, chief medical officer at AHCCCS.
Studies show that one-third of maternal deaths occur between one week to a year after the end of pregnancy, and rates of maternal mortality are up to five times higher among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Under current Medicaid requirements, AHCCCS coverage ends after 60 days postpartum when a member is eligible solely based on a pregnancy. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gave states the option to increase postpartum coverage to 12 months. The extension was included in the Arizona state budget which was approved in June 2022. Once approved by CMS and operationalized, the option for the 12-month extension of postpartum coverage will be available to AHCCCS members.