A new study, “Medicaid Family Planning Expansions: Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future,” by Adam Sonfield and Rachel Benson Gold of the Guttmacher Institute, reveals the importance of expanded Medicaid eligibility for contraceptive services. The study indicated that “increasing women’s contraceptive use increased their use of more effective method and improved their continuity of use—all important factors in reducing high rates of unintended pregnancy among low income women.” The researchers also noted a decline in the number of unintended and teen pregnancies.
Adam Sonfield, one of the study’s authors stated, “The body of evidence is clear. Expanding eligibility for contraceptive services under Medicaid has enabled women to access the services they want and need, while reducing the toll on federal and state taxpayers. As if that weren’t enough, these expansions have also resulted in innovative outreach and enrollment practices, which can serve as models for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
Since 1997, 22 states have expanded eligibility for family planning services to women who were not previously eligible. According to the study, “Publicly funded family planning centers in states with expansions served 48% of women in need in 2006, whereas those in nonexpansion states served just 36%.” Currently, 2.7 million women are served annually by the Medicaid expansion programs.
Guttmacher Institute Statement 12/6/11; “Medicaid Family Planning Expansions: Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future” December 2011