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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

W. Va. House Advances Expanded Medicaid Coverage For Postpartum Women

Four pregnant women sit in lotus position.
Thomas Northcut
Getty Images
Four pregnant women sit in lotus position.

House Bill 2266 would extend Medicaid coverage for women one year after giving birth. Current law covers women for 60 days after delivery.

Republican Del. Matthew Rohrbach of Cabell County is the lead sponsor. He pointed to research that women are often most vulnerable to mental and physical health conditions several months after giving birth.

“The period seven to 12 months postpartum is the deadliest for these women because they lose access to their care,” he said.

A 2013 report from the state says of all maternal deaths from 2007-2012 in West Virginia, most occurred more than 60 days after delivery.

The bill would apply to women who make 185 percent of the federal poverty guideline. That would include single moms making less than $33,000 a year.

If passed, the coverage expansion would cost the state $1.4 million each year, according to a fiscal note.

The measure was approved 98-2 and now heads to the Senate.

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