Feds encourage use of long-term contraceptives in Medicaid population


The federal government wants more states to encourage the use of long-acting, reversible contraceptives among its Medicaid population.

Touting the cost-effectiveness, low maintenance and high patient opinion of LARCs, Vikki Wachino, deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent a notice to state programs urging them to set policies that encourage the adoption of these contraceptives, according to a Kaiser Health News article published by The Washington Post.

In 2010, the article notes, the federal government paid out $21 billion to cover the costs of unplanned pregnancies. Southern states are disproportionately affected, with Mississippi’s federally funded programs covering 82 percent of the costs of unintended pregnancies.

To curb these high costs, CMS wants more Medicaid recipients to use these birth control methods to prevent pregnancy in the first place, as they have an almost 100 percent accuracy rate. Medicaid, under the law, covers its beneficiaries--man or woman--for family planning, according to the article, but states do have a significant say in the types of services they provide.

The article also notes that only 11 percent of women with Medicaid used LARCs in 2012, which could be because it is more difficult access those contraceptives in certain programs. Though a dozen states have policies that separately pay providers for inserting LARCs right after delivery.

CMS is not the only organization calling for greater adoption of LARCs, as the article says that the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality called for the creation of policies that boost the use of these contraceptives in order to lower Medicaid costs.

To learn more:
- read the article