Kentucky House approves ‘Momnibus’ maternal health bill Skip to content

Kentucky House approves ‘Momnibus’ maternal health bill

HB 10 contains a number of provisions to deal with Kentucky’s maternal health crisis.

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A bipartisan bill aimed at reducing Kentucky’s high maternal mortality rate is one step closer to becoming law.

Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser (R-Taylor Mill) and Rep. Nancy Tate (R-Brandenburg) are the primary cosponsors of House Bill 10. The Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed the legislation on Tuesday.

Also known as the “Momnibus” bill – a combination of mom and omnibus – the legislation would take several steps to address maternal health issues.

“Kentucky has the unfortunate ranking as number two in the nation in maternal deaths in the year following childbirth,” Moser said on the House floor. “There are several reasons for this, including our high rates of substance use and substance abuse among childbearing-age women.”

According to Moser, 53% of women who die in the year following childbirth die due to substance use disorder. Other factors affecting Kentucky’s high maternal mortality rate include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness.

“These are all made more difficult during and after pregnancy and can cause dangerous situations,” Moser said. “Deaths due to any of these factors are usually preventable. And the ways to prevent these deaths are to identify and treat these diseases early in pregnancy, if not before.”

Prenatal care is “crucial” to reducing the maternal mortality rate, Moser said. One way to ensure access to that care is by making pregnancy a qualifying life event for health insurance purposes. HB 10 would do that.

A floor amendment adopted by the House would exempt small group and short-term limited duration plans from providing a special enrollment period for pregnancy. Moser said the change is needed to address concerns from insurers and small business owners.

Another provision would require a health benefit plan to cover in-home treatment for a substance use disorder, maternity care associated with pregnancy, and child birth and postpartum care. Plans would also be required to cover labor and delivery and all breastfeeding services and supplies. Telehealth would also be permitted.

As for mental health care, Moser said HB 10 would establish the Kentucky Lifeline for Moms. The hotline will operate out of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which has already received a grant to implement the program. HB 10 would codify the program.

The lifeline staffed by psychiatrists and psychologists will assist OBGYNs and primary care physicians caring for mothers experiencing a mental health crisis.

HB 10 would also expand the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program by providing mothers and families counseling and education on breastfeeding, lactation and safe sleep, and allowing telehealth for those services.

Rep. Sarah Stalker (D-Louisville) is a co-sponsor of HB 10. She filed legislation in 2023 to make pregnancy a qualifying event for insurance, but the bill did not advance. She thanked Moser for including her idea in HB 10.

“It is important that our women and babies have the ability to access prenatal care as early as possible,” Stalker said. “And the fact that pregnancy is now being considered a qualifying life event is going to literally change the lives for so many Kentuckians as well as hopefully decrease the abysmal outcomes that we have.”

Tate said she hopes to continue to work with Moser to make sure the services proposed in HB 10 are known by the public and utilized.

“One of my greatest concerns is that services will be available, yet their presence is unknown to the general public,” Tate said. “While House Bill 10 will not address all the problems that are facing women and their families, it is certainly a step in the right direction for making Kentucky a better place to work, live and raise a family.”

The House approved HB 10 by a 90-0 vote. It will now go before the Senate for consideration.

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“Capitol Update” is a non-partisan publication of the Legislative Research Commission



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