Bipartisan bill expanding access to postnatal care passes WV Legislature

CHARLESTON — HB 2266, Relating to expanding certain insurance coverages for pregnant women, has passed the WV Legislature and once the House concurs on a technical amendment, it heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.

Two years ago, the WV Legislature passed a bill expanding Medicaid and CHIP coverage for pregnant individuals which continued coverage for 60 days postpartum. HB 2266 expands that coverage to twelve months postpartum.

“We are heartened with the support on all sides of the aisle relating to HB 2266. When we focus on healthy pregnancies and postpartum care, we are setting up better birth outcomes and healthier starts to both life and parenting, said Julie Warden, COO of WV FREE, a reproductive health, rights, and justice advocacy group in West Virginia.

Delegate Rohrbach, Vice Chairman of Health and Human Resources in the House introduced the bill with bipartisan support. Chairman of Health and Human Resources, Delegate Pack, placed it on his agenda and it passed last year, but stalled and died before being placed on the House Finance Committee. This year, Finance Chairman Householder ensured the bill made it on his committee for consideration and the bill saw no issue from that point forward.

Advocates of the bill cite comprehensive health services before, during, and following pregnancy so mothers can stay healthy as they take on the responsibility to care for their newborn baby.

The bill is anticipated to be signed by the Governor next week.