Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill sponsored and passed by State Senator Lois Kolkhorst to increase Medicaid coverage for new mothers in Texas.

(front row, from left) House Speaker Dade Phelan, Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Lois Kolkhorst, joined by members of the Texas House of Representatives.
(courtesy Office of Lois Kolkhorst)

House Bill 133 will extend postpartum coverage from two months to six months following the date a woman delivers or experiences an involuntary miscarriage.  It also requires the Health and Human Services Commission to contract with managed care organizations to provide continuity of care for individuals in the Healthy Texas Women programs.

Kolkhorst said this legislation makes Texas one of the first states in the nation to extend Medicaid coverage beyond the two months federally required for postpartum.  She said expanding new post-pregnancy maternal care is a pressing need for qualifying Texas women, and that this effort will “help keep Texas moms healthy and provide the care needed to avoid preventable illnesses and deaths.”

The original proposal passed by the House earlier this year, before being negotiated with the Senate, would have given mothers a full year of postpartum coverage.  Some legislators and maternal health advocates have said the extra four months of coverage are appreciated, but may not be enough.

In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 750, authored by Kolkhorst, which instituted Healthy Texas Women Plus, a state-funded program that covers for 12 months “longer-term issues like depression, mental health conditions, cardiovascular and coronary conditions as well as substance use disorders.”  She said House Bill 133 “will allow women to maintain their same doctors and seamlessly transition between the programs.”

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