OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – More help is being made available to new mothers on SoonerCare. The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given the state approval to make major changes when it comes to pregnancy and post partum coverage.
“They need extra time. They need extra coverage,” said Juli Merciez, H.E.L.P Task Force Chair.
Members of Governor Kevin Stitt’s Helping Every Life and Parent (H.E.L.P.) Task Force, which was formed in the wake of last year’s abortion bans, are now celebrating the federal government’s approval of a plan to expand pregnancy and postpartum benefits for new mothers on Sooner Care, from 60 days to a year.
The group unanimously recommended the change.
State leaders said the services don’t just cover the basics, like doctor visits, medicine, labs and delivery.
“The sooner care benefits also include important services such as lactation consultation services, tobacco sensation, diabetes testing supplies and genetic counseling,” said Kevin Corbett, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Health Secretary.
The state is upping the income threshold for full-scope pregnancy related benefits. It’s now at $28,000 for an individual and $28,000 for a family of four.
“We estimate 2500 additional Sooner Care members in the current eligibility group will transition to full scope benefits and maintain coverage through the postpartum period,” said Corbett. “Up to an additional 14,000 Oklahoma women will be eligible for sooner care benefits for the full year after pregnancy.”
New mom, Ciera Pollard, told the Task Force Chair a big thing new mothers need is insurance for a longer amount of time after the baby is born.
“Because postpartum doesn’t come on at least until six months after,” said Pollard. “Just having health care for a whole year, that gives you time to evaluate and see what you need as a person as well.”
“There is a lot that comes with it and you have to keep up with your stuff. But in the long run, it’s worth it for you and for your children,” Pollard added.