TitleAssociation of Medicaid Expansion With Access to Abortion Services for Women With Low Incomes in Oregon.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsHarvey, SM, Gibbs, SE, Oakley, LP
JournalWomens Health Issues
Date Published11/2020

BACKGROUND: The Affordable Care Act allowed states to expand Medicaid eligibility for women with low incomes before pregnancy. Women who experience an unintended pregnancy may encounter fewer delays in accessing abortion services if they are already enrolled in Medicaid. In states where the Medicaid program includes coverage for abortion services, Medicaid expansion may increase timely access to abortion services. Oregon has expanded Medicaid and is 1 of 16 states in which the Medicaid program covers abortion services. We explored how Medicaid expansion in Oregon was associated with Medicaid-financed abortion rates and receipt of medication abortion relative to surgical abortion.

METHODS: Using Medicaid claims and eligibility data we identified women ages 19 to 43 (n = 30,367) who had abortions before the expansion period (2008-2013) and after the expansion period (2014-2016). We used American Community Survey data to estimate the annual number of Oregon women aged 19 to 43 with incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level who would be eligible for a Medicaid-financed abortion. We conducted interrupted time series analyses using negative binomial and logistic regression models.

RESULTS: Incidence of Medicaid-financed abortion increased from 13.4 in 1,000 women in 2008 to 16.3 in 2016. Medication abortion receipt increased from 11.5% of abortions in 2008 to 31.7% in 2016. For both outcomes, we identified an increasing time trend after Medicaid expansion, followed by a subsequent leveling off of the trend. By the end of 2016, incidence of Medicaid-financed abortion was 4.5 abortions per 1,000 women-years (95% confidence interval, 3.3-5.7) higher than it would have been without expansion and medication abortions comprised a 7.4 percentage point (95% confidence interval, 4.4-10.4) greater share of all abortions.

CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid expansion was associated with increased receipt of Medicaid-financed abortions and may have reduced out-of-pocket payment among women with low incomes. Increased receipt of medication abortion may indicate that expansion enhanced earlier access to services, possibly as a result of increased prepregnancy Medicaid enrollment, and this earlier access may increase reproductive autonomy and safety.

Alternate JournalWomens Health Issues
PubMed ID33168482