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Fam Plann Perspect. 1998 Sep-Oct;30(5):204-11.

Mainstreaming contraceptive services in managed care--five states' experiences.

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1
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY 10005, USA.

Erratum in

  • Fam Plann Perspect 1999 Mar-Apr;31(2):80.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The ongoing, rapid national transition from a health care financing and delivery system dominated by traditional indemnity insurance to one dominated by managed care has enormous implications for the accessibility of contraceptive services.

METHODS:

In each of five areas with relatively mature managed care environments (all of Colorado, Massachusetts and Michigan, as well as selected counties in California and Florida), all managed care organizations serving commercial or Medicaid enrollees were asked about their coverage of contraceptive services and the procedures for obtaining that care. In addition, all publicly funded family planning agencies in these areas were queried about their involvement with managed care plans, and representative samples of reproductive-age women at risk of unintended pregnancy and enrolled in managed care plans were asked about their plan's coverage and their experiences in obtaining contraceptive services.

RESULTS:

Fifteen percent of health maintenance organizations and point-of-service plans did not cover all five of the most commonly used medical contraceptive methods, and another 6% covered none of the methods. Only half the plans informed enrollees--and even fewer informed enrollees insured indirectly as dependents--of whether they covered contraceptive services. One in four women in commercial plans were unsure whether their plan covered oral contraceptives, and two in three did not know if their plan covered the other medical methods. Only one in four commercial plans have brought community-based family planning providers into their networks, and more than half of all publicly funded family planning agencies reported having no contracts with managed care organizations. Finally, nearly one in three women in managed care plans reported difficulties in obtaining contraceptive services, with 13% of enrollees in commercial plans waiting at least four weeks for an appointment for contraceptive care.

CONCLUSIONS:

To adequately address the contraceptive needs of their employees, employers must ensure that the health insurance plans they purchase provide adequate coverage of contraceptive methods. For their part, managed care organizations and state Medicaid programs should examine their policies and procedures to ensure that services are easily accessible to women needing contraceptive care.

PMID:
9782042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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