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New Medicaid expansion in Kentucky helps pregnant moms, children

Pregnant woman at home
Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 18:20:57-04

(LEX 18) — April is Medicaid Awareness Month and Medicaid benefits are expanding even more. New changes include helping Kentucky moms for a longer period after childbirth.

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Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services leaders say Kentucky has 1.6 million Medicaid enrollments, 32,000 providers serving Medicaid members, and more than $800 million in prescription drug rebates collected. Now it's expanding, even more, to help mothers during and after pregnancy.

Department of Medicaid Services Commissioner, Lisa Lee, says, "Most of those individuals again are half of the children in the state, pregnant women, individuals over the age of 65, blind individuals, disabled, and the childless adult population."

Leaders say more people may be using Medicaid than people realize. 1 in 3 Kentuckians are utilizing this program.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary, Eric Friedlander, explains, "Medicaid probably covers over half of the births in Kentucky. So, really important then for OBGYN and hospitals, the very, very young."

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Last year, more than 26,000 Kentucky births were paid for by Medicaid. More than 600,000 children were covered. Medicaid can help bridge a financial gap.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Deputy Secretary, Carrie Banahan, says, "Medical debt, you know very stressful, very concerning for families. Losing their houses, losing their assets, depleting them, so as a safety net, it's a comfort to families that there is support out there."

Kentucky’s Department for Public Health's Maternal Mortality Review 2020 annual report showed that 78% of maternal mortality cases were deemed preventable in 2017. After birth moms using Medicaid had only 60 days to get post-partum care. Now as of April 2022, eligible moms will have 12 months of coverage post-partum. In addition to mental and behavioral services like treating postpartum depression -- there are other benefits mothers can receive.

Lee says some include, "If individuals maybe have asthma, diabetes, heart disease are prevalent in Kentucky so those women will be able to have those services as well. Just any general medical services."

Medicaid also covers children as they grow. Leaders say this program is vital to the state.

"We help families become healthy, try to improve the lives of those we serve, while we also pay attention to our provider community,” says Lee.

Again, the Cabinet is encouraging more people to sign up for Medicaid. In fact, leaders say a lot of people do not even realize they're eligible. You can visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services online to see if you are eligible.