Governor Stitt’s H.E.L.P. Task Force Recommends Expanding SoonerCare Coverage for Pregnant and Postpartum Service
(STL.News) The Helping Every Life and Parent (H.E.L.P) Task Force unanimously recommended the Oklahoma Health Care Authority expand coverage for SoonerCare members receiving pregnancy and postpartum services. Governor Kevin Stitt created the task force to study, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding policies, programs, and proposed legislation to support crisis pregnancy centers, make adoption easier, support mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy and empower nonprofit organizations and local faith communities to support families and mothers before, during and after childbirth.
Two major policy changes are being proposed. Oklahoma’s income threshold for full-scope pregnancy-related benefits will increase from 138% to 205% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Additionally, a new opportunity through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allows states to provide new mothers with up to 12 months of continuous postpartum coverage. SoonerCare currently provides full-scope pregnancy benefits, including 60 days or postpartum coverage for women with incomes up to 138% of the FPL.
“I fully support these recommendations to expand and extend care for new mothers and their babies,” said Governor Stitt. “Raising the income threshold will allow thousands of additional women in Oklahoma to have access to services that will reduce risk and create opportunities for better health outcomes for both them and their child. Ensuring more women have access to better, longer care is a positive step in the right direction for our state.”
The additional services include postpartum care, prescription drugs, genetic testing, vision and hearing services to treat disease, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, preventive primary care, and more robust dental benefits during and after their pregnancy.
“By adding the 12-month extension of postpartum coverage, Oklahoma will be allowed to receive the enhanced 90% federal financial participation rate for postpartum women who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid expansion,” said Kevin Corbett, Secretary of Health and Mental Health and CEO of OHCA. “Those mothers will now have access to a variety of services including care coordination, tobacco cessation and counseling, behavioral health care and substance use disorder treatment.”
Both policy changes will require CMS approval. Visit mysoonercare.org to learn more about SoonerCare eligibility and coverage.
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