Although Texas is ending its provision of abortion services, residents still have access to a variety of birth control methods and healthcare related to reproductive health through most health insurance plans and government-funded initiatives.
Depending on the birth control method, the insurance coverage, and whether state or federal financing is used, access and secrecy may differ. The steps for obtaining birth control, emergency contraception, and additional services are listed here.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most health insurance plans are required by the Affordable Care Act to offer contraception alternatives and family planning counselling at no out-of-pocket expense.
This includes medically prescribed, FDA-approved contraceptives like Plan B and Ella as well as birth control tablets, vaginal rings, implants like IUDs, barrier techniques, and sterilisation procedures. You may read more about methods of contraception here.
However, especially if they are more recent, insurance companies could not cover all types and brands of contraception.
According to Kari White, an associate professor of sociology and social work at the University of Texas at Austin and the principal investigator of the Texas Health Insurance Access Study, “generally, insurers required to give at least one method in a specific class of procedures.”
The majority of health insurance plans are mandated by the Affordable Care Act to provide contraception options and family planning counselling at no out-of-pocket cost, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This includes birth control pills, vaginal rings, implants like IUDs, barrier methods, and sterilisation procedures in addition to medically prescribed, FDA-approved contraceptives like Plan B and Ella. You can read more about contraceptive methods here.
Insurance companies, however, might not be able to cover all varieties and brands of contraception, particularly if they are more current.
Preventive healthcare treatments like Pap tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and screening and counselling for interpersonal violence are also required to be included by the majority of insurance policies.
Texas is the state with the highest percentage of uninsured residents and is one of twelve states that have chosen not to use more federal funding to extend Medicaid coverage for low-income people. Because they earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid and too little to be able to buy private health insurance, more than 500,000 Texans are now left without coverage.
You can get contraception and preventative treatments at government-funded clinics if you can’t acquire insurance through a job or the federal marketplace.
The federal Title X Family Planning Program provides money to clinics that provide contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
According to Every Body Texas, which is responsible for managing federal grants in the state, there are more than 175 Title X clinics located throughout Texas. The clinics are intended to assist teenagers and those who are unable to pay for medical care, are uninsured, or do not have a government-issued identification, but White of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project said they are open to anyone.
According to her, services for both men and women are offered on a sliding scale based on income and may even be supplied for free for those who meet the federal poverty level. The website of Every Body Texas lists Title X clinics.
Texas also provides low-income women with preventive care and funding for specific birth control techniques through two programmes called Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program.
People can obtain free birth control pills and other forms of contraception through the Healthy Texas Women programme. Women in Texas between the ages of 15 and 44 who are not pregnant, who are citizens of the United States or who are eligible immigrants and who fulfil the requirements for low income are eligible for the programme. Only $2,313 can be made by a single person each month to qualify. Women under the age of 18 must apply via a parent or legal representative.
A individual is given services under both state-run programmes for a year unless their income or eligibility status changes. If the person still satisfies the requirements, they may reapply for assistance.
The personnel at some clinics can assist you in determining which programme you might be covered because they work with both Title X and state financing, according to White.
Undocumented immigrants are able to obtain medical attention at Title X clinics and can be eligible for Texas’ Family Planning Program.
If they have Medicaid, teenagers can obtain contraception at Title X clinics and other authorised providers without parental permission. Medicaid may send an explanation of benefits or follow-up letter to your home, so it may not be fully secret, advises the group Jane’s Due Process, which operates a helpline for teen reproductive care.
With or without parental agreement, Texas is one of just two states whose state-run Children’s Health Insurance Program does not at all cover birth control.
Texas also forbids Medicaid recipients from using the programme to pay for services other than abortion, including as birth control, at facilities that provide abortion services, like Planned Parenthood. According to White, this also applies to women who are enrolled in the Healthy Texas Women programme. However, she continued, it is unclear how this ban will function if these physicians stop performing abortions. A request for comment from Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas was not immediately returned, but the organization’s website still states that Medicaid-eligible Texans are not permitted to visit its clinics.
According to White, the ban does not follow federal Medicaid regulations, but Texas fought for approximately ten years to have Planned Parenthood excluded from all state-funded programmes. Only a third of Texas’ 82 closed family planning facilities in 2014 belonged to Planned Parenthood.
If an abortion facility is part of the insurer’s network, people with commercial insurance can obtain birth control and other services from Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood, according to White. In addition, she noted, some service providers might have philanthropic backing to help those who cannot afford to pay.
People can order birth control and emergency contraception through the Planned Parenthood Direct smartphone app. However, those who are under the age of 17 would need to
Anyone can purchase over-the-counter Plan B, which, if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, can prevent pregnancy. Depending on the pharmacy and brand, prices without insurance might range from roughly $17 to $50. For it to be covered by insurance, a doctor’s prescription is required. According to White, facilities that receive Title X financing, such as clinics and regional public health departments, may also offer emergency contraception, including Plan B.
According to the internet site Bedsider, which is informed by medical specialists, Ella, another emergency contraceptive tablet that functions up to five days after intercourse, needs a prescription but can also be prescribed and acquired online via an online pharmacy. For those who weigh more than 165 pounds, this choice is also more useful than Plan B.
Under Title X clinics and Texas’ Family Planning Program, permanent birth control methods like vasectomies for men and tubal ligations, also known as having one’s “tubes tied,” can be options. However, they can be more difficult to obtain because they may require specialists outside of a clinic and some providers may not accept lower reimbursements from government programmes, according to White.
Therefore, she added, it may be challenging for healthcare professionals to collaborate with an outside organisation like an ambulatory surgery centre or hospital to pay for that operation.
According to White, some commercial insurers may only cover a portion of the cost of a vasectomy or require patients to pay a deductible first.
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