Extension of postpartum coverage will improve maternal health in New York

The American Heart Association believes that the extension of Medicaid coverage for postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months will make a difference to the health of New Yorkers and provide tangible steps toward health equity.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the measure into law on April 9.

“New York currently ranks 23rd in the nation for its rate of maternal mortality – and these risks are even more prevalent among communities of color as Black woman are more than three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related death than white women, “said Dr. Nelly Kazzaz, a cardiologist with St. Joseph’s Health Cardiology Associates in Syracuse and member of the Central New York Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association has set a goal of reducing health disparities by 2024 and this measure will help do that. April 11- 17 is Black Maternal Health Week, a great time to celebrate the extension of Medicaid postpartum care.”

The American Heart Association knows that extending postpartum Medicaid coverage will help individuals obtain the medical care they need to receive adequate counseling and screening for risk factors that can develop after the birth of a child, such as:

  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • postpartum depression
  • and substance use

In addition, most pregnancy-related deaths occur among populations covered by Medicaid during birth and up to a year postpartum.

Having comprehensive health services before, during, and following pregnancy prevents disruptions in coverage. The new 12 months post-delivery coverage period will provide an automatic coverage pathway during this vulnerable time to prevent those disruptions.

“We’re glad the state Legislature and Gov. Hochul included this extension,” Dr. Kazzaz said. “It’s critical that we protect new mothers at a time when they are most vulnerable.”

“We’re glad that this measure had great support in the Legislature and from Gov. Hochul,” said Brianna Durkee, New York State Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association is grateful to Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried for being proponents of maternal health for all New Yorkers.”

To be part of the American Heart Association’s advocacy efforts, contact YoureTheCure.org.