Cephas touts April 1 opening for longer postpartum care option in PA

Administration enters Medicaid recipients into era of Opt-in PA

HARRISBURG, April 1 – As of today, birthing parents enrolled in Medicaid in Pennsylvania are eligible for one year of postpartum care thanks to a promise made by good public policy, state Rep. Morgan Cephas said.

President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act included a provision that gives states an option to extend Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum; the Pa. Department of Human Services made the decision to opt into this provision, extending that coverage from 60 days to one year.

The new option takes effect beginning today in Pennsylvania thanks to Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration opting the commonwealth into the initiative. The one year of care will be available to birthing parents over the next five years.

“Constituents who use Medicaid should contact their providers to see how this impacts them and their care,” said Cephas, who chairs the General Assembly’s Women’s Health Caucus and serves on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.

“Medicaid opt-in sounds technical, but it means extra care for those who need it most. Many thanks to providers supporting birthing people and families, who understand that Medicaid opt-in can mean important changes in the lives of so many Pennsylvanians who need the care.”

Cephas is an ardent fighter for health equity and improved maternal health care in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth. She has introduced a series of legislation (H.Bs. 1173-1176), which would also extend Medicaid coverage to doula services while also creating a Doula Advisory Board; require implicit bias training for health care professionals; and categorize maternal morbidity as a reportable event for better tracking of the issue. 

Medicaid covers almost half of births nationally and 35% of births in Pennsylvania as of 2019.

“While this is an important step in improving access to care for some of our most vulnerable populations, it is just the beginning,” Cephas said. “I look forward to strategic partnerships and continued efforts to improve maternal health outcomes across the state.”