NPR : News

Filed Under:

Few Public Family Planning Centers Accept Insurance, Yet

Most women can expect to get contraceptives without paying out of pocket for them thanks to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Women who are young or those who are poor and rely on publicly funded family planning centers for reproductive health services are covered, too.

But there's a catch. Many of the state and local health departments, community health centers, Planned Parenthood clinics and other family planning centers that serve these women don't accept insurance, not even publicly funded insurance such as Medicaid. Not yet, anyway.

To take advantage of required insurance coverage of these benefits under the law, the centers will have to learn the ins and outs of contracting with insurers and beef up their computer systems pronto, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health organization.

"If your patient has insurance but you as a clinic don't take insurance it's not going to do you much good," says Adam Sonfield, an analyst at the Guttmacher Institute who co-authored the study.

It won't do patients much good either. Roughly a quarter of women who need birth control rely on publicly funded family planning centers.

In 2010, family planning centers reported that only 60 percent of their clients had public or private insurance, according to the Guttmacher report. Some women receive services through state or federal programs like the Title X family planning program, while others pay out of pocket, often on a sliding scale based on income.

Under the health care overhaul that will change drastically. Starting in 2014, most people will be required to have insurance or pay a penalty. Medicaid eligibility will expand in many states to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and many other people will be eligible for subsidized coverage on state-based health insurance exchanges.

And the health law requires new plans or those that lose their grandfathered status to provide a range of preventive benefits, including birth control, without patient cost-sharing.

The Guttmacher study found that overall, only a third of family planning centers had contracts with private insurers in 2010. Forty percent had contracts with Medicaid health plans.

"For all family planning centers, becoming adept at working with health plans as a way to secure third-party reimbursement for insured clients will be necessary to thrive in the emerging health care marketplace," the report concludes.

Copyright 2013 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
NPR

GOP Candidates Head To South Carolina After Trump Victory In New Hampshire

With the New Hampshire primary doing little to settle the GOP race, presidential candidates headed straight to South Carolina on Wednesday to start campaigning ahead of the state's primary in 10 days.
NPR

Twitter Tries A New Kind Of Timeline By Predicting What May Interest You

Twitter has struggled to attract new users. Its latest effort at rejuvenation is a new kind of timeline that predicts which older posts you might not want to miss and displays them on top.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.