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Tennessee and South Carolina join five other states in extending health care coverage to low income mothers

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Tennessee and South Carolina joined the list of five other states that have extended healthcare coverage to women for one year after childbirth.

Currently, states are required to offer 60 days of healthcare coverage to women after childbirth, but experts agree the risk to women after childbirth continues up to one year after birth, and increased access to healthcare could decrease the mortality risk. The seven states that now offer a year of coverage after birth will offer the assistance to low to middle income women.

According to the CDC, about 350 women per year die from pregnancy complications, and another 350 die of complications after delivery, many of them because they lacked access to affordable postpartum healthcare.

Louisiana, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, and Illinois, in addition to Tennessee and South Carolina, have extended the healthcare coverage from 6 months to a year.

Studies show that women in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia fare better health-wise than women in the United States, and lack of affordable and accessible healthcare was a driving factor in the statistic. 

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the addition of South Carolina and Tennessee to the list of states offering the extended health care assistance to new mothers. He also announced the creation of a $3 million Maternal Mental Health Hotline that is scheduled to launch on Mother’s Day, serving to assist new mothers seeking medical assistance, including mental health help.

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