CareQuest Institute for Oral Health—a leading national nonprofit focused on creating a more accessible, equitable, and integrated oral health system—released a new report urging states to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to at least 12 months to help improve health equity and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes.
“Expanding the breadth and duration of Medicaid coverage for pregnant people, including preventive care and oral health care, is an essential part of the fight to improve health outcomes—especially for Black mothers and families experiencing the most severe adverse maternal outcomes in the US,” said CareQuest Institute for Oral Health CEO and president Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA. “By strengthening these benefits, state Medicaid programs across the country have an opportunity to show that health care is a human right and bring us closer to real health equity.”
Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states have the opportunity to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum people to a full year, including benefits that are not only “pregnancy-related.”
Currently, more than 35 states have implemented or are planning to implement an extension to the Medicaid postpartum coverage period. However, some states have taken no action to extend this coverage including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and South Dakota.
The report, “The Role of Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits During Pregnancy and Postpartum,” also calls on each state to provide extensive Medicaid dental benefits to all adults, including postpartum adults. When looking at Medicaid dental coverage by state, 47 state Medicaid programs do not offer adult dental benefits sufficient to maintain optimal oral health.
“CareQuest Institute urges Congress to make extensive dental coverage for adults a permanent part of the Medicaid program and establish a baseline of covered services for all states,” Minter-Jordan added.
A recent and related visual report from CareQuest Institute outlines the worsening state of both maternal and infant health in our nation, with rising rates of maternal mortality and preterm birth. Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women are 2.9 and 2.5 times more likely, respectively, to die from pregnancy-related causes than non-Hispanic white women.
Additionally, US infants born to Black and Native American mothers are 62% more likely to be born preterm than those born to white women.
The visual report also highlights how poor oral health during pregnancy is directly linked to adverse birth outcomes, including preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight deliveries.
Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders are responsible for 15% of maternal mortality.
About CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. We do this through our work in philanthropy, analytics and data insights, health transformation, policy and advocacy, and education as well as our leadership in dental benefits and innovation advancements. We collaborate with thought leaders, health care providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders, to accelerate oral health care transformation and create a system designed for everyone.
To learn more, visit carequest.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.