New Medicaid Changes that Help Texas Mothers

Texas will extend coverage for current and new moms for up to 12 months post-pregnancy beginning March 1st.

By Ashley Guidry, Communications Associate

In January 2024, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Texas’ plan to provide 12 months of postpartum health care coverage. Previously, coverage lasted two months but, with the changes to extend coverage to 12 months women will get the much needed follow-up treatment during pregnancy and the crucial months that follow giving birth.

Why is this new coverage crucial to Texas mothers?

According to Dr. Ann Barnes of the Episcopal Health Foundation, Medicaid covers nearly half of all births in Texas. Before March 1, 2024, new mothers were limited to 60 days of Medicaid coverage. In April 2017, Legacy Community Health addressed the alarming rate at which Texas mothers were dying due to postpartum depression. Health care advocacy groups later learned that Texas ranked 14th in the nation or highest number of maternal deaths per 1,000 live births.

Additionally, severe maternal mortality rates during 2019-2020 were higher for black women at 117.3 cases per 10,000 hospital deliveries which is double the rate for white women. Hispanic women rose to 72.7 cases per 10,000 hospital deliveries in Texas. Many advocates banded together to address this issue at the Texas Legislature and speak to what needed to be done to keep mothers healthy before and after giving birth.

This policy change is a step forward in creating health equity for all Texans. It is also expected to improve women’s health in the postpartum period and decrease the maternal mortality rate. As of now, 47 states including Texas and Washington D.C. will either have or plan to have 12 months of Medicaid coverage.

Texas expects approximately 137,000 women to benefit from this extended coverage by fiscal 2025.

Who can apply for this new coverage?

Texas mothers who have given birth but whose Medicaid coverage ended at 60 days can reenroll if they are still within the 12 months following birth. Coverage will automatically be reinstated for people who were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in Texas while pregnant and are still within the 12-month postpartum period. Program eligibility is based on income and Texas residency.

Women enrolled in the Healthy Texas Women (HTW) program will be automatically enrolled in full-coverage Medicaid or CHIP if they are within 12 months of the postpartum period.

Although this new policy change will improve the lives of many, the journey for better health care access is not over. Many advocates are still pushing for better care for women, regardless of pregnancy, such as addressing diabetes and hypertension. At Legacy, our mission is to drive healthy change and ensure that preventive care is accessible to everyone.

To apply for Medicaid or CHIP, call 211 and press option two or visit to check your status; you can also schedule an appointment with Legacy’s Eligibility staff by calling 832-548-5000.