Tennessee Medicaid officials want more postpartum coverage

Published 8:51 am Friday, November 8, 2019

NASHVILLE  (AP) — Officials with Tennessee’s Medicaid program want to expand postpartum health insurance for low-income women.

The Tennessean reports TennCare Deputy Director Stephen Smith announced at a Wednesday state budget hearing that the program hopes to expand the program’s current two-month coverage to an entire year.

Smith says the move was inspired by 52 Tennessee women who died in 2017 within a year of giving birth. He says many of the women suffered opioid additions and, with the risk of relapse heightened postpartum, most died from overdoses after their TennCare coverage ended.

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TennCare estimates that up to 6,500 women currently not eligible for state insurance could be covered by the extended program. TennCare’s budget presentation proposes a three-year pilot of the expansion, which it says may cost about $19.5 million annually.