Health & Human Services

More Medicaid Funding for Contraception Proposed in Illinois

August 22, 2014
 

Medicaid patients in Illinois could gain increased access to contraception under policy changes proposed Wednesday by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Health care providers would receive more money for providing vasectomies to men and birth control to women under the proposal, which also includes a possible new referral requirement for Roman Catholic providers and others that object to contraception.

The department expects to implement most of the proposed changes this fall, but department Director Julie Hamos said Medicaid will immediately start paying more toward the cost of long-term contraception at walk-in providers such as Planned Parenthood clinics.

Hamos said her department proposed the changes in part to address the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed some companies to exclude contraceptives from their employees' insurance coverage on religious grounds. Oklahoma-based arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby, owned by evangelical Christians, sued over a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to cover contraceptives.

The court's decision was of "extreme concern" to Gov. Pat Quinn and state health officials, Hamos said.

The new proposal affects residents covered under Medicaid, not by employers, but Hamos said the court's decision brought new focus to the issue, spurring the department to announce the proposal quickly.

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