New York State Prioritizes Maternal Health with Expansion of Medicaid Prenatal and Postnatal Benefits

2023-24 Enacted Budget Invests in Health Equity by Adopting Key Evidence-Based Interventions to Better Care for New York Parents and Newborns

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 24, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health announced several key initiatives aimed at improving maternal and newborn health. Enacted as part of the 2023-24 New York State Budget, the state is committing to multiple Medicaid investments that will expand access to prenatal and postnatal care and support better birth outcomes. This announcement is released on the heels of the State's adoption of the federal option to extend Medicaid and Child Health Plus (CHPlus) postpartum coverage from 60 days to a full year following pregnancy.

"It's important that all pregnant people are provided access to affirming quality care for safe deliveries, as well as resources that will ensure their babies are healthy and thriving," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "These investments will show maternal health as the priority it is, by making sure all families receive support during this important time."

"These initiatives reaffirm New York's commitment to providing high-quality maternal care that is accessible during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum through the Medicaid program," State Medicaid Director Amir Bassiri said. "By updating perinatal care standards and significantly expanding benefits, the Medicaid Program is dedicated to ensuring our health care system supports all New York families, regardless of race or circumstance. I want to thank Governor Hochul for making maternal health a top priority and helping New York become a leader in the national fight to combat maternal mortality."

As maternal health remains a top priority, the state is doubling down on protecting pregnant New Yorkers. Key policies in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 enacted New York State Budget include:

  • Doula Coverage: Effective 2024, Medicaid will establish statewide coverage of doula services for all pregnant, birthing, and postpartum Medicaid-enrolled individuals. A doula is a non-medical provider of physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant people before, during, and after delivery.
  • Midwifery Services:Medicaid increased the reimbursement rate for midwifery services from 85 percent to 95 percent of the Physician Fee Schedule as of July 2022, as well as benchmarking the physician fee schedule to 80 percent of Medicare fees in October 2023.
  • Updated Perinatal Care Standards: Medicaid provided clarifying guidance and requirements on perinatal care for all Medicaid providers serving pregnant and postpartum individuals, with an explicit focus on health equity, health disparities, and racial bias.
  • Remote Patient Monitoring: Medicaid incorporated an additional monthly reimbursement for remote patient monitoring of pregnant and postpartum people.
  • Community Health Worker Coverage: Medicaid will soon include coverage for community health workers serving the prenatal and postnatal populations, expanding to children and other high-risk populations next year.
  • Nutrition Counseling: Medicaid expanded coverage for nutrition counseling services provided by certified dietitians/nutritionists within their scope of practice.
  • Lactation Counseling: Medicaid managed care plans are required to cover lactation counseling, even after discharge from the hospital after birth. Effective June 2022, additional lactation counselor certifications are now covered by Medicaid.
  • Prenatal Testing:Medicaid expanded coverage of prenatal testing and screenings, including:
    • Non-invasive prenatal trisomy screening
    • Spinal Muscular Atrophy screening
    • Hepatitis C screening
    • Third-trimester Syphilis screening

With nearly 9 million enrollees in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan, New York State offers some of the largest and most comprehensive public health insurance programs in the country. With enhanced and expanded Medicaid coverage now available to pregnant individuals, the state is taking a critical step towards preventing maternal deaths and illness and fortifying health equity.

The Department remains committed to supporting prenatal and postnatal care and ensuring resources are available for better birth outcomes.

The Maternal mortality page can be found here.

Maternal mortality rates in the U.S. can be found here.

Medicaid Perinatal Care Standards can be found here.