Medicaid and CHIP Coverage for Pregnant Women: Federal Requirements, State Options

Introduction

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are key supports for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as their children in the critical early years of life. Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in the United States, including a greater share of births in rural areas, among young women, and women of color. Medicaid and CHIP also cover close to half of the nation’s children under age 3, making it the largest source of coverage for infants and toddlers.

Federal minimum standards and state expansions have created public health coverage pathways that give millions ofwomen improved access to essential prenatal, birth-related, and postpartum care. But more can be done to ensure that Medicaid and CHIP coverage for pregnant women provides affordable, comprehensive care that supports optimal pregnancy outcomes for mothers and babies, and helps build the foundation for a strong, nurturing relationship between mother and child.

This brief describes the existing Medicaid and CHIP eligibility pathways for pregnant women and outlines federal minimum standards and state options to expand coverage to more pregnant women and opportunities to better align maternal and infant health coverage.

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