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Maryland Medicaid Honored with 2023 Spotlight Award

Maryland Medicaid is recognized for its Healthy Babies initiative.


Maryland Medicaid Honored with 2023 NAMD Spotlight Award

In July 2023, as part of continued statewide efforts to improve maternal and child health, Maryland Medicaid began providing comprehensive coverage to non-citizen pregnant Marylanders, who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid or Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) if not for their immigration status.

Maryland Governor and Maryland Medicaid hope that this initiative will reduce maternal deaths and improve the well-being of Maryland Medicaid participants while also contributing to the overall health of Maryland communities.

The Maryland Medicaid team is being awarded the NAMD Spotlight Award for their work in trying to improve population health via increased access to necessary care.

The initiative: 

Maryland’s HB 1080–Healthy Babies Equity Act gives Maryland Medicaid the authority to provide coverage for non-citizens during pregnancy and for four months postpartum and for their newborn up to age one.

These individuals are eligible for the same benefits package as other pregnant individuals, including physical and behavioral health services, dental and prescription drug coverage without copays. Previously, these adults were only eligible for Medicaid emergency medical care and labor and delivery services.

Non-citizen pregnant individuals no longer need to apply before their pregnancy end date to receive benefits. Individuals can apply for coverage through the Maryland Health Connection consumer portal and enroll in one of Maryland’s nine managed care organizations (MCO) during the prenatal and postpartum periods. Maryland Medicaid will cover carved out benefits on a fee-for-service basis. Additionally, this coverage group may be eligible for retroactive coverage up to 3 months preceding the month of application.

The cost to Maryland Medicaid for the Healthy Babies coverage group is limited to prenatal and postpartum care, since Maryland already covers labor and delivery costs for pregnant noncitizens and newborns up to age one.

Mayland Medicaid also submitted a State Plan Amendment for a CHIP Health Services Initiative to cover postpartum care.

The impact: 

Maryland Medicaid expects that equitable access to and higher utilization rates for prenatal and

postpartum care for non-citizen pregnant Marylanders will offset emergency medical services. Research shows that prenatal care reduces pregnancy complications, preterm labor, low birth weight babies and neonatal intensive care unit stays.

Maryland Medicaid has conducted robust outreach activities to educate and engage individuals and

those who work with this population to address language and literacy issues, reduce confusion around eligibility, enrollment, and services and to encourage and increase enrollment earlier in pregnancy for

the best possible health outcomes.

Overall, Maryland Medicaid estimates that due to this initiative, this year alone 6,000 pregnant women who are not lawfully present will gain coverage during their pregnancy and for four months postpartum.

NAMD is pleased to honor Maryland Medicaid with the 2023 Spotlight Award.  Learn more about the other winners here.

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