Medicaid Family Planning Expansions and Related Preventive Care

The Issue:
Since 1994, 22 states have expanded Medicaid coverage of preventive health services for women aged 21-44 years. These services included screening for breast and cervical cancer and testing for sexually transmitted infections. This article examines the impact of expanded Medicaid coverage on use of preventive services by young women.

Key Findings

  • Eligible women in states with Medicaid expansions were more likely to receive clinical breast exams and Pap tests for cervical cancer. This change resulted in a narrowing of the utilization gap in preventive services between higher and lower income women.

  • There was no change in rates of routine check-ups or HIV testing in states with expanded Medicaid coverage for preventive services.

State expansions of Medicaid preventive services for women increased screening for breast and cervical cancer and narrowed the gap in preventive service utilization between women with lower and higher income levels. The expansions did not result in increased HIV screening or routine check-ups.

About the study:
The author analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative study conducted by state health departments, from 1993 through 2009. The effect of Medicaid expansion was calculated through a multivariate linear probability model.