One of the main sources of funds for family planning services and financing contraceptives for many low-income men and women in the United States is Medicaid. 26 states have started special programs that give family planning services to low-income individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid benefits.
Medicaid family planning services are usually provided to people aged from 10 to 64, whose family is at the low-income bracket. An individual who is not married and has no children can apply at local health centers. Trained staff there will help determine if they are qualified for Medicaid family planning services and other programs offered by the state. Applications are kept very confidential.
State operated health centers usually require some documents from people applying for family planning services. These are an ID with photo, such as driver’s license, School ID, passport and other official ID; proof of age, like birth certificate, hospital records, or passport; proof of citizenship which includes birth certificate, passport, INS form, naturalization certificate; proof of residency for the last 6 months such as an ID with address, utility bill, lease agreement; Social Security Number or card: Preferably, bring your Social Security card, or at least bring your number; child care expense documentation. Most important of all is evidence of recent, monthly income. This may be in the form of one month’s worth of pay slips, unemployment or Social Security check, worker’s compensation award letter, letter from the employer, alimony documents, and for students, a class card or class schedule. Individuals under 21 years old can apply by themselves. Their eligibility will be established on their own income and not their parents’.
After applying and they get qualified for the program, they will receive a Medicaid card for family planning services. This will be given in four to six weeks and can be used at any Medicaid provider. The card can also be used when consulting for family planning or when getting birth control at pharmacies.
Medicaid family planning services includes coverage for all types of birth control, emergency contraception and follow-up, pregnancy testing and counseling, ligation and vasectomy, STD testing and counseling, pap smears, testing for cervical cancer, pelvic problems, breast disease, anemia, and high blood pressure, and HIV testing and counseling. For tests and counseling to be covered they must be done during a family planning consultation.
Pregnancy services and abortion are not covered by Medicaid in majority of states, but some do cover abortion. Both abortion and pregnancy services are covered by a different Medicaid program and for women that do get pregnant, local health center staff can help them enroll in these.
The covered family planning services can be obtained at any Medicaid provider that has family planning and gynecology services. Consultations and visits to these providers have no limit. After consultations, birth control prescriptions can be filled up for free at pharmacies that accept Medicaid. These include pills, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs, Depo Provera, Norplant, Ortho-evra and contraceptive foams.
Medicaid family planning services can be availed by a person for a whole year, after which they can re-apply.