Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill extending Medicaid coverage to pregnant women until one year after they deliver their babies.
The measure (SB 2518) was a priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls that received early bipartisan praise across both chambers during the recent Legislative Session. DeSantis signed the measure Wednesday, the same day he signed a series of budget bills, including the $101.5 billion budget for the coming fiscal year.
DeSantis credited the Legislature with taking the lead on the postpartum health care effort. Without the extension, federal rules only guarantee mothers two months of insurance.
“For the first time since 1976, this Legislature took the lead to cover postpartum moms after they give birth to make sure that they’re healthy and extended that coverage from two months to 12 months,” Sprowls said during the Zephyrhills stop of the Governor’s budget tour.
Extending postpartum care will be a $240 million endeavor. However, Florida is only on the hook for $89 million of that bill. The rest will come from federal Medicaid matching dollars.
Mothers below 185% of the most recent federal poverty level will be eligible.
The move will ensure better care and services for both mothers and babies, the Governor’s budget overview highlights.
When Sprowls announced the plan in March, he stressed that those funds would come on a recurring basis. That was despite the Legislature making several expenditures recurring to create future flexibility amid the pandemic recovery.
“If we’re going to be truly committed to mothers and the health of their children in the long term, it needs to be signaled in both word and deed that this is a longterm commitment, and that’s what we’re going to do in the Medicaid Conforming Bill,” Sprowls said.
Senate Democrats lauded the move as a progressive announcement. Sen. Lauren Book and Rep. Kamia Brown, both Democrats, filed postpartum health care expansion bills (SB 238/HB 645) in December and February respectively, ahead of the Legislative Session.
The measure will take effect July 1 along with the rest of the budget.