Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) on Wednesday announced the state’s “Georgia Postpartum Extension” section 1115 demonstration waiver has been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), extending Medicaid state plan benefits from 60 days to six months to postpartum women with incomes up to 220 percent of the federal poverty level.
“Working with members of the General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session, I was thrilled to sign into law House Bill 1114 which authorizes the extension of Medicaid coverage for six months to provide for postpartum care in our continued fight to decrease maternal mortality,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “We recognize that maternal deaths are a serious public health concern, and the approval of the Georgia Postpartum Extension waiver underscores Georgia’s commitment to continually enhance the level of care for new mothers in the Peach State.”
With the approval of the waiver, which was initially submitted in December 2020, Georgia becomes just one of three states to lengthen coverage of Medicaid benefits to postpartum women. Through the continuity of this coverage, Georgia aims to advance its efforts in improving the health of mothers in Georgia, as well as reduce the rate of maternal mortality and morbidity in the state by further addressing the care for women postpartum.
“We are so pleased that the Georgia Postpartum Extension waiver extension has been approved, and we would like to thank our federal partners for their continuous engagement throughout the application process and for their expeditious approval,” said DCH Commissioner Frank Berry. “I’d like to thank our Medicaid team at DCH as well for their exceptional work in advancing this important waiver. We view this as a significant steppingstone in helping to ensure that postpartum women throughout Georgia can continue receiving the best care possible.”
In addition to extending the postpartum eligibility period to six months, CMS also grants the following expenditure authority through the waiver:
• Expenditures for Continuous Eligibility for Postpartum Benefits. Expenditures for individuals to remain enrolled in the Georgia Postpartum Extension who are initially determined eligible under the demonstration or a state plan group, but who no longer meet those income standards during any portion of the extended postpartum eligibility period.
• Expenditures for Resource Mothers Outreach services. Expenditures for Resource Mothers Outreach services for all individuals enrolled in the Georgia Postpartum Extension demonstration.
• Expenditures for the Suspension of Redeterminations until the End of the Extended Postpartum Period. Expenditures necessary to suspend redeterminations with regard to changes in income and renewals that would have otherwise occurred at the end of the postpartum period for women eligible in the state plan who enroll in the Georgia Postpartum Extension until the end of the extended postpartum eligibility period.
The extension is effective April 16, 2021 through March 31, 2026. To view the CMS approval letter for the Georgia Postpartum Extension waiver, please click here.