NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — On January 1, North Dakota Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Medicaid program extended the health care coverage for eligible pregnant and new moms.

According to a news release, it has gone from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy to help improve maternal and child health outcomes and well-being.

Having 12 months of continuous coverage will help to provide qualifying people access to checkups after birth, behavioral health services, and preventive care.

These preventive care services include mammograms and cervical screenings.

The extended coverage will cover dental care, vision and hearing screening, chiropractic care, and other vital health care services.

“Extending Medicaid coverage after pregnancy helps ensure that women have the care they need during their child’s first year of life,” said Interim Medical Services Division Director, Krist Fremming. “This aligns with our vision to make North Dakota the healthiest state in the nation by investing in people’s economic, behavioral, and physical health, which are the foundations of well-being.”

Current North Dakota Medicaid members and new applicants need to inform a human service zone office that they are pregnant before they give birth in order to qualify for extended coverage. You can contact the offices online.

“The months following pregnancy are a critical time to support new moms,” said Alicia Belay, the assistant director of Community Engagement for HHS. “There are significant benefits to having access to more care after birth including improved behavioral health for women and their babies, increased preventive care, and healthier outcomes in future pregnancies.”

Those that are interested can learn more on the North Dakota Health and Human Services website.