Changes needed in Medicaid coverage and reimbursement to meet an evolving abortion care landscape
Thompson T-A, Price J, Carrión F. Changes needed in Medicaid coverage and reimbursement to meet an evolving abortion care landscape. Contraception. April 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2021.04.003
Medicaid is the largest publicly funded health insurance program in the United States, covering 76 million individuals as of August 2020. Research shows that Medicaid improves health and health care access on a variety of indicators. Abortion is a common reproductive health service in the United States. However, Medicaid coverage of abortion varies by state; with 34 states and the District of Columbia limiting themselves to a federal policy that only permits coverage under cases of incest, rape, or life endangerment. With 75% of abortion patients earning low incomes, Medicaid coverage of this service is particularly salient to abortion access. In this commentary, we describe the complexities of Medicaid coverage and reimbursement of abortion in the United States and the implications of this complexity. Further, we consider the potential impact of changes in abortion provision, including increasing provision of medication abortion and the use of health care delivery models such as telemedicine for medication abortion, on Medicaid coverage and reimbursement. Finally, we provide a few policy and practice recommendations for abortion coverage now and in the future.