Postpartum insurance loss decreased during COVID-19 pandemic, study finds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It’s been the case for decades — high numbers of U.S. women who give birth lose or face changes to their health insurance afterward. And those with Medicaid benefits are most likely to lose coverage, because pregnancy-related Medicaid ends after 60 days postpartum, and eligibility for parents is much more restrictive.

However, significantly fewer people lost postpartum insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study in JAMA Health Forum. Compared to the prior year, consistent Medicaid coverage among postpartum participants actually increased during the pandemic.

The findings suggest that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law in March 2020 and prevented Medicaid disenrollment, led to substantial reductions in postpartum Medicaid loss, said study author Erica Eliason, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University’s School of Public Health. This is significant, she said, because the act is set to expire in July 2022, and many states are considering legislation to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid through one year postpartum. KEEP READING