For Immediate Release: Monday, March 29, 2004
BY IMPROVING FAMILY PLANNING ACCESS, STATES SAVE MONEY
Programs that have broadened eligibility for contraceptive services under Medicaid have been highly cost-effective for both the states that initiated them and the federal government, according to a study profiled in "Doing More for Less: Study Says State Medicaid Family Planning Expansions Are Cost-Effective" by Rachel Benson Gold, published in the March issue of The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy.
Over the past decade, 18 states have obtained federal waivers to extend eligibility for Medicaid-covered family planning services to individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for such care. Gold’s article reports on findings from the first-ever national evaluation of these waiver programs, commissioned by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS evaluation looked at six state Medicaid family planning waiver programs and found that all six programs resulted in substantial net savings—including $56 million over three years in South Carolina ($18 million state and $38 million federal savings) and $20 million in a single year in Oregon ($11 million state and $9 million federal savings).
The study found that even as the programs saved money, geographic availability of family planning services increased, clinics served more clients and, in two states, there was a measurable reduction in unintended pregnancy among Medicaid-eligible women. "The Medicaid family planning waivers are a wise policy choice, especially in difficult economic times," said the study’s author Rachel Gold. "Providing additional resources for family planning expands access to a service people want and need to improve their own health and well-being and it saves money."
For more information about the CMS evaluation of Medicaid family planning waivers, click .
Also in the March 2004 issue of The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy:
•"Comprehensive Approach Needed to Combat Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Youth," by Heather Boonstra;
•"The Broad Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health," by Susan A. Cohen; and
•"Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Men Worldwide," by Adam Sonfield.