More money could be a big help for problems Georgia has struggled with since before the pandemic, including high maternal mortality and prevalence of substance abuse and HIV infection, said…
During the 2020 Georgia legislative session, House Health & Human Services Chairwoman Sharon Cooper sponsored HB 1114. The bill allows eligible mothers to receive Medicaid coverage for six months after giving birth, up from the current 60-day limit.
Currently pregnant women and new mothers are covered by Medicaid only up to 60 days after their birth or miscarriage. Georgia has very strict Medicaid eligibility rules for Georgia parents outside of this 60-day period and Georgia has not expanded Medicaid to other low-income adults. For these reasons, many mothers who try to apply for Medicaid after the 60-day period are ineligible and become uninsured.
Georgia’s alarming maternal mortality and morbidity outcomes prompted Georgia leaders to examine the problem and propose solutions. State leaders agreed that extending Medicaid coverage from 60-days postpartum to six months for women with incomes at or below 225% of the federal poverty level (FPL) would be a step in the right direction. This move improves access and consistent care during the more of the postpartum period.
Georgia’s Department of Community Health invited public comment on the proposal from October 8, 2020 to November 9, 2020. During this comment period, individuals and organizations were able to provide their input at two public hearings or in writing.
GHF offered its qualified support of the proposal. GHF urged the state to to go further by extending coverage to twelve months. We also recommended an expansion of Medicaid to all low-income adults. Both of these moves would optimize Medicaid’s benefits and access to care for women throughout the postpartum period and beyond. You can read GHF’s full comment letter here.
October is Breast Cancer awareness month and at Georgians for a Healthy Future we are committed to helping women access essential cancer screenings, including mammograms to detect breast cancer, through working to ensure that all Georgia women have access to health insurance. Uninsured, low-income women often face financial barriers to receiving recommended screenings for breast and cervical cancer and in Georgia, minority women face additional breast cancer disparities. However, research has shown that women who live in a state that has expanded Medicaid are more likely to get a mammogram than women that live in a non-expansion state. In 2008, women in every state had the same likelihood of getting a mammogram, but in 2015 a study found that women in expansion states were 25% more likely to get screened. As you can see, expanding Medicaid allows women to get the potentially life-saving preventive care they need. So for all the women in your life, please sign our petition to close the gap here.