Timely postpartum care is associated with lower maternal morbidity and mortality, yet fewer than half of Medicaid beneficiaries attend a postpartum visit. Medicaid enrollees are at higher risk of postpartum disruptions in insurance because pregnancy-related Medicaid eligibility ends sixty days after delivery. The study used Medicaid claims data for 2013–15 from Colorado, which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Utah, which did not. The authors found that after expansion, new mothers in Utah experienced higher rates of Medicaid coverage loss and accessed fewer Medicaid-financed outpatient visits during the six months postpartum, relative to their counterparts in Colorado. The effects of Medicaid expansion on postpartum Medicaid enrollment and outpatient utilization were largest among women who experienced significant maternal morbidity at delivery. These findings provide evidence that expansion may promote the stability of postpartum coverage and increase the use of postpartum outpatient care in the Medicaid program.

Authors: Sarah H. Gordon, Benjamin D. Sommers, Ira B. Wilson, Amal N. Trivedi

Publication Date: January 2020

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