COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — 21,000 new moms in Ohio will now have more health coverage after they have their babies, thanks to a big change from Ohio Medicaid.

Expecting moms covered by Medicaid used to be given two months of post-partum coverage. Now, it is six times as long, giving new moms a full year of coverage.

“We want you to get the best care, to get you connected with care immediately, to have additional support,” Director of Ohio Medicaid Maureen Corcoran said.

Corcoran said while many post-partum complications happen during or in the days after birth, that’s not where it ends.

“Maternal mortality can be as much as 50%, that’s out two months or beyond, associated with the fact that she was pregnant,” Corcoran said.

“It’s such a broad spectrum that we deal with for all of our patients for their reproductive lifespan,” OBGYN Dr. Jason Sayat said. “And those events include their pregnancies and post-delivery stand points.”

Extended coverage began in April, helping more 9,100 Ohio women. Corcoran said last week’s final approval ensures it can continue.

“The best way for both mom and baby to be healthy is to be sure they have the full year of coverage after baby is born,” Corcoran said. “And we know that babies get better health care when their mom is also covered.”

She said the mortality rate for a new black mom and newborn is two to three times higher than it is for a new white mom and newborn. So, this coverage is also part of the effort to end that disparity.

“We’ve got to narrow that gap,” Corcoran said. “We’ve really got to target those communities and those women and families who re at the greatest risk.”

Available coverage includes treatment for postpartum depression, medical care for chronic conditions, breastfeeding resources and evidence-based nurse home visiting.