For Immediate Release: Monday, October 25, 2004
NEW STUDY SHOWS EXPANDING MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES HELPS WOMEN
States that have extended Medicaid coverage of family planning services to more low-income women are better able to meet women’s need for these services than states that have not, according to "The Availability and Use of Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics: U.S. Trends, 1994–2001," by Jennifer Frost et al. These states have also seen a 27% increase in the proportion of women whose need for publicly funded family planning service has been met, whereas states without any Medicaid expansion for family planning have seen no improvement.
Each year, more than 20 million American women obtain contraceptive services from a medical provider; one-quarter of those women receive care from a publicly funded family planning clinic. In 2001, a total of 6.7 million women, including 1.9 million teenagers, received contraceptive services from the 7,683 publicly funded family planning clinics in the United States; both the number of clinics and the number of clients served have increased since 1994.
Medicaid is a major source of funding for family planning services. Between 1994 and 2001, seven states--Alabama, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington--obtained federal waivers to provide Medicaid coverage of family planning services to some low-income women earning more than the standard Medicaid cutoff in their states. On average, in 2000 these states served half of women in need of publicly funded services, while states that had not expanded Medicaid coverage served only four in 10 women in need.
Today, eleven states have obtained federal approval to extend Medicaid eligibility for family planning services based on income (see ). A federally funded study earlier this year found that such programs not only increase access to contraceptive care for low-income women, they also save governments money (see "Doing More for Less: Study Says State Medicaid Family Planning Expansions Are Cost-Effective"). Legislation pending on Capitol Hill would streamline the process for states, making it easier to expand coverage in this way. The study released today confirms that extending Medicaid support for family planning to more women succeeds in enabling clinics to serve more clients and improving access to care for more women in need.
For state-by-state and county-level data on women in need of family planning services and what clinics are doing to meet the need, see Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2001/2002 .