Illinois became the first state in the U.S. to extend full Medicaid benefits to new mothers from 60 days to one year postpartum, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.
The extension aims to reduce the rate of maternal morbidity, according to Pritzker, noting health disparities for Black women during the period after giving birth.
“Every mother in Illinois deserves access to quality healthcare following the birth of a child, regardless of their income level,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This coverage expansion will further my administration’s work to reduce health disparities in communities across the state and improve maternal health outcomes for women of color.”
According to a press release, women with incomes up to 208% of the federal poverty level will have continuous healthcare benefits eligibility through 12 months postpartum.
Illinois' extension of coverage should help mothers better manage chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, a press release said, and provide important health services.
“This enhanced period of care for Illinois mothers is vital for them, their babies and their families, and is critical to reducing maternal morbidity and mortality rates and the alarming disparities in health outcomes for Black women and all women with Medicaid coverage across the state,” Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson said.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra called the move a "crucial step to reduce disparities in pregnancy-related death" and encouraged other states to follows Illinois' model.
Illinois' historic expansion is one of several steps the Biden Administration announced it is doing to address the "Black Maternal Health Crisis." For more on their actions, click here.