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MEDICAID CHANGES CONTRACEPTIVE SUPPLY RULES

Under a new policy, Virginians with Medicaid can get a 12-month supply of contraceptives instead of the one-month supply allowed under previous rules.

The policy was announced last week by the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services and covers all routine, self-administered contraceptives, including oral contraceptive pills, weekly patches, monthly rings and injections given at home every three months.

Medicaid members in managed care and fee-for-service are included in the new policy, along with those in Family Access to Medical Insurance Security and Plan First, according to the announcement.

“Unintended pregnancies are a major factor driving health inequities,” said Ellen Montz, chief deputy and health economist at DMAS.

The “commonsense policy” allows members to make the best decisions about their reproductive health, Montz said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and American College of Gynecologists have agreed and all recommend extended supply options for contraception.

A 2018 study in Washington state found that the availability of one-year supplies of contraceptives was associated with fewer unintended pregnancies.

“This reform reduces the potential for contraceptive failures resulting from delays in prescription refills,” said Chethan Bachireddy, chief medical officer at DMAS. “Missing more than two consecutive oral contraceptives can result in pregnancy.”

—From staff reports

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