Extending Postpartum Care Will Advance Health Equity in Illinois

By expanding Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum, Illinois can make significant progress toward reducing maternal mortality and morbidity.

Everyone deserves access to affordable, equitable, and comprehensive healthcare no matter their income, race, gender, or immigration status.

Consistently, we see a major gap in coverage after a woman gives birth and loses Medicaid 60 days postpartum due to income or immigration status. These women and their families are at great risk of preventable medical complications due solely to the lack of coverage because of affordability, administrative burdens, lack of knowledge of the Marketplace, or lack of employer coverage.

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law strongly supports the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ proposal to provide Medicaid coverage throughout the entire postpartum period.

Our communities and clients rely on Medicaid to provide affordable, equitable, and quality healthcare coverage for their families. Medicaid covers 44 percent of births in Illinois, and the health of our children, caregivers, families, neighbors, and communities depend on expanding access to care in the postpartum period. When analyzed by race, non-Hispanic Black women living in Illinois were found to be six times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause and three times as likely to experience severe maternal morbidity.

By expanding Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum, our state can make significant progress toward reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. We are not alone in our support of expanding postpartum coverage. Both the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have recommended expanding coverage throughout the entire postpartum period to address postpartum pregnancy-related tragedies.

We are supporting proposals to further the progress on reducing maternal mortality rates especially in women of color by funding culturally competent doula services.

We look forward to the day when Illinois is able extend coverage to all women postpartum regardless of immigration status including undocumented women.

Read our full comments.

More Information

We are intentional about addressing barriers to healthcare that specific communities experience.

To receive the latest news and information from the Shriver Center