Hattiesburg pediatrician wants new moms to know they have extended Medicaid coverage

Hattiesburg Clinic Pediatrician Dr Anita Henderson said it's time to get the word out about the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage for new moms.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Anita Henderson said it’s time to get the word out about the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage for new moms.

As past president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Henderson has stood inside the capitol building in Jackson urging lawmakers to vote on Senate Bill 22-12, which extends Medicaid postpartum coverage from only 60 days to a full year. Now that Gov. Tate Reeves has signed the bill into law, Henderson said we are only three months away from giving families the healthcare they need.

“What we know from maternal mortality reports is that about a third of all maternal deaths occur after those 60 days,” said Henderson. “So, what we are hoping is that those moms will be allowed to have health care coverage to treat their hypertension, their diabetes, their chronic medical conditions, and their postpartum depression. All those things occur after that 60-day mark.”

The passing of SB 2212 can be seen as state leaders fulfilling promises made after most abortions became illegal in Mississippi last year. One of those leaders was Speaker of the House, Philip Gunn. He spoke at the Neshoba County Fair last summer.

“We’re putting together experts in the field of child support enforcement, health care, adoption, foster care and other areas to help us develop policies that we are gonna pass this next year,” said Gunn.

When WDAM 7 sat down with Gov. Reeves in September of 2022. He said the state was already looking into the possibility of extending Medicaid for new mothers.

“It’s gonna be a data-driven decision with respect to that,” said Reeves.

State Rep. Missy Mcgee presented the bill on the house floor this legislative session encouraging lawmakers to vote and pass the bill.

“It is the smart thing to do in terms of cost,” said McGee. “It is the effective thing to do for better health outcomes. It is the right thing to do.”

Henderson said now providers are talking with the Division of Medicaid to see how the extension will work. She said the main thing new moms need to know is they are covered.

Henderson added the biggest thing new moms need to do now is to make sure all of their information is correct with the Division of Medicaid.

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