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Medicaid members could have more access to postpartum long-acting reversible contraceptives

A doctor in a white lab coat with a white dress shirt and red bow tie wearing a black stethoscope.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
The bill would also require Medicaid to reimburse for the LARC, as well as the cost of placement and keeping it stocked.

Medicaid recipients could have increased access to postpartum long-acting reversible contraceptives — also known as LARCs — after giving birth. A House committee passed a bill Tuesday that would require hospitals to ensure Medicaid members have the option to get this type of contraceptive during their delivery visit.

HB 1426 would also require Medicaid to reimburse for the LARC, as well as the cost of placement and keeping it stocked. An amendment to the bill specifies that hospitals must have a subdermal option available, which many providers say could limit patient choice and access.

The bill does not specifically say hospitals can’t stock other LARC options, but some providers raised concerns that hospitals might only stock what is legally required.

Dr. Gabriel Bosslet, president of the Good Trouble Coalition, a health care advocacy group, said the amendment excludes IUDs – which could result in patients believing the option is not available to them for medical reasons.

“Individuals should have the freedom to make informed choices about their reproductive health without facing arbitrary limitations imposed by exclusions, for reasons not grounded in science or medicine,” Bosslet said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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Darla Berry, a certified nurse midwife, said many patients don’t prioritize contraception, and the bill is a step in the right direction.

“It's not perfect, but it's absolutely a step,” Berry said. “Undisputedly, control over fertility, birth spacing and effective contraception are key in reducing both infant and maternal mortality.”

The House Public Health Committee unanimously passed the amended bill.

This story has been updated to include the bill's number and hyperlink to its page.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.