NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Officials with Tennessee's Medicaid program want to expand postpartum health insurance for low-income women.

The Tennessean reports TennCare Deputy Director Stephen Smith announced at a Wednesday state budget hearing that the program hopes to expand the program's current two-month coverage to an entire year.

READ MORE | Tennessee unveils $7.9B block grant proposal for Medicaid 

Smith says the move was inspired by 52 Tennessee women who died in 2017 within a year of giving birth. He says many of the women suffered opioid additions and, with the risk of relapse heightened postpartum, most died from overdoses after their TennCare coverage ended.

READ MORE |Changes expected for Tennessee Medicaid block grant proposal 

TennCare estimates that up to 6,500 women currently not eligible for state insurance could be covered by the extended program. TennCare's budget presentation proposes a three-year pilot of the expansion, which it says may cost about $19.5 million annually.

Information from: The Tennessean,

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