Today, the Alaska State Legislature passed Senate Bill 58, Governor Mike Dunleavy’s postpartum Medicaid legislation. The legislation extends postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days to 12 months.
“Postpartum health issues occur far beyond 60 days, and I am pleased the Legislature passed this long overdue bill,” said Governor Dunleavy. “My administration prioritizes growing families by paving the way for healthier maternal and child outcomes. SB 58 aligns with my Health Family Initiative by improving access to critical health care, especially at a vulnerable time for families.”
Fifty-one percent of births in Alaska are by a mother eligible for Medicaid. Currently, post-partum Medicaid coverage only lasts 60 days. However, pregnancy-related deaths occur well beyond the 60-day postpartum period, sometimes 43 days to even a year postpartum. SB 58 seeks to improve maternal health by preventing gaps in health care coverage, maternal mental health, and child health outcomes.
“Mothers in the United States face a sharp increase in preventable maternal mortality rates, and Alaska is no exception,” said Commissioner Heidi Hedberg, Commissioner-designee of the Department of Health. “Passing this bill provides new moms on Medicaid a year of coverage to improve their health and the health of their families.”