Wisconsin Launches Expanded Birth Control For Low Income Residents

Robin Marty

The new program expands Medicaid to allow more birth control access for low income Wisconsinites.

The state of Wisconsin kicked their new birth control access plan for low-income women, men and teens into effect on Friday, October 29th, even without the direct approval of the federal government.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

Wisconsin is expanding its birth control services under Medicaid even though the federal government hasn’t granted approval before the planned start date of Nov. 1, the day before a new governor will be elected.

The state is sure that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will eventually approve the plan retroactive to Nov. 1, or Monday, said Stephanie Smiley, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

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“Since we’re very confident that CMS approval is forthcoming, we are moving forward with implementation,” Smiley said in an e-mail Friday.

The plan, allowed under the new health care law, lets the state continue providing free birth control pills, vasectomies and other contraceptives to more low-income people than some states without having to periodically reapply, as the state must do now. The services also include Pap smears and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The state, which has been giving the services to men and women ages 15 to 44 who make as much as $21,660 a year, also will expand the program to people older than 44 and raise the income limit to $32,490.

Medicaid is the state-federal health plan for the poor.

In 2008, the state spent $18.4 million through its birth control program, saving nearly  $140 million according to estimates from the state health department.  Meanwhile, anti-choice groups such as Pro-Life Wisconsin, who are against birth control, state that at the very least they will fight to ensure teens are not allowed to use the program, as it would cause them to be more promiscuous.

Topics and Tags:

Medicaid, Wisconsin

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