State of Washington
66th Legislature
2020 Regular Session
BySenators Randall, Darneille, Dhingra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kuderer, Lovelett, Salomon, Stanford, Van De Wege, Nguyen, and Wilson, C.
Prefiled 01/02/20.Read first time 01/13/20.Referred to Committee on Health & Long Term Care.
AN ACT Relating to improving maternal health outcomes by extending coverage during the postpartum period; adding a new section to chapter 74.09 RCW; and creating new sections.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. (1) In Washington and across the country, maternal mortality rates continue to be unacceptably high. Approximately seven hundred people die each year in the United States due to pregnancy-related conditions. The majority of these deaths are preventable.
(2) Maternal mortality data reveal significant racial and ethnic disparities. In this state, American Indian and Alaska native women are six to seven times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
(3) The centers for disease control and prevention define the postpartum period as extending one year after the end of pregnancy, and data show that health needs continue during that entire year. In Washington, nearly one-third of all pregnancy-related deaths and the majority of suicides and accidental overdoses occurred between forty-three and three hundred sixty-five days postpartum.
(4) The maternal mortality review panel has identified access to health care services and gaps in continuity of care, especially during the postpartum period, as factors that contribute to preventable pregnancy-related deaths. In their October 2019 report to the legislature, the panel recommended ensuring funding and access to postpartum care and support through the first year after pregnancy.
(5) Postpartum medicaid coverage currently ends sixty days after pregnancy, creating an unsafe gap in coverage. Continuity of care is critical during this vulnerable time, and uninterrupted health insurance provides birthing parents with access to stable and consistent care. Extending medicaid coverage through the first year postpartum is one of the best tools for increasing access to care and improving maternal and infant health.
(6) The legislature therefore intends to extend medicaid coverage from sixty days to twelve months postpartum.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 74.09 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Beginning January 1, 2021, the authority shall provide medical assistance to postpartum persons who reside in Washington state, have countable income equal to or below one hundred ninety-three percent of the federal poverty level, and are not otherwise eligible under Title XIX of the federal social security act. Medical assistance under this section must be provided during the twelve-month period beginning on the last day of the pregnancy. To ensure continuity of care and maximize the efficiency of the program, the amount and scope of health care services provided to individuals under this section must be the same as that provided to pregnant and postpartum persons under medical assistance, as defined in RCW 74.09.520.
(2) In administering this program, the authority shall seek any available federal financial participation under the medical assistance program, as codified at Title XIX of the federal social security act, the state children's health insurance program, as codified at Title XXI of the federal social security act, and any other federal funding sources that are now available or may become available in the future.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3. The health care authority shall submit a waiver request to the federal centers for medicare and medicaid services to allow for the state to receive federal match for the coverage of postpartum persons identified in section 2 of this act. The authority shall provide coverage to all eligible postpartum persons identified under section 2 of this act regardless of federal approval of the waiver request. The authority shall report to the legislature on the status of the waiver request by December 1, 2020, and inform the legislature of any statutory changes necessary to allow the state to receive federal match for the coverage of postpartum persons identified in section 2 of this act.
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