The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released preliminary data this week that shows claims in its Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP), which replaced the Medicaid Women’s Health Program at the start of this year, have declined by about 23 percent in the first five months of 2013, as compared to Medicaid Women’s Health Program claims during the same period last year. This is the first year the program has operated without Planned Parenthood—which was kicked out of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program last year—and entirely on the state’s dime, without federal assistance.
A representative for HHSC said that the decline in claims was “expected,” not because the ouster of Planned Parenthood meant the loss of a provider that saw over half of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program’s enrollees in years past, but because some women simply chose not to leave Planned Parenthood to go to a new doctor.
TWHP provides contraception and cancer screenings to low-income Texans.
“We expected to see a drop off in the number of claims when we moved to the state program because we knew some women wouldn’t want to change doctors,” said HHSC Communication Director Stephanie Goodman in a statement released Tuesday. She said HHSC has “the capacity to increase the number of women we’re serving in the state program.”
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Texas removed Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program last year because it considers the provider an abortion “affiliate,” making it ineligible to receive public funds in the state. Planned Parenthood has historically seen about half of all WHP clients and is the state’s most cost-efficient provider of family planning care.