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April 20, 2022

Postpartum coverage extension is great news for Kansas families

Through its new budget, Kansas is taking an important step in improving maternal and infant health outcomes. Today, Governor Laura Kelly signed the new budget bill which contains funding for extending postpartum KanCare (Medicaid) coverage from 60 days to 12 months. 

More than 30% of Kansas births are covered by KanCare. Extending postpartum coverage will allow mothers to access early interventions and coordinated care, preventing postpartum complications that arise more than 60 days after delivery. Now more mothers will have health insurance and access to care in the first full year postpartum when the mother is still at risk for complications, including pregnancy-related death. 

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, a temporary federal expansion of postpartum benefits to 12 months has allowed mothers to access or continue accessing health care and mental health services that provide both mother and child with a healthier start to life. A significant aspect of these improved health outcomes results from mothers being able to access early interventions and coordinated care, preventing postpartum complications that arise more than 60 days after delivery and keeping chronic conditions from worsening due to early identification and intervention.  

Last year, the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Health Fund) and 28 partners urged the Kansas Legislature to permanently extend postpartum coverage.   

“We commend Governor Kelly and the Kansas Legislature for extending postpartum KanCare coverage to 12 months

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,” said David Jordan, president and CEO of the Health Fund. “This will positively impact 9,000 Kansas mothers each year—reducing maternal mortality, improving health outcomes, and reducing disparities.” 

Extended postpartum KanCare is an important step toward improved health for mothers. We need to remain attentive to and advocate for mothers’ access to quality physical and mental health care in all Kansas communities. 

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