Each year in the United States, about 750,000 women under age 20 become pregnant.1 In 2011, approximately 330,000 teens 15-19 years of age gave birth.2
The Prevention Status Reports highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of a key policy that states can use to prevent teen pregnancy:
- Expanding eligibility for Medicaid family planning services to the income eligibility level for pregnancy-related services and to include women younger than age 18 years
This policy is consistent with recommendations in the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Prevention Strategy to expand access to contraceptive services4 and with the Healthy People 2020 objective to "increase the number of States that set the income eligibility level for Medicaid-covered family planning services to at least the same level used to determine eligibility for Medicaid-covered, pregnancy-related care" (Objective FP-14).5
Policies & Practices
Expansion of state Medicaid family planning eligibility
Healthy People 2020 sets a target of increasing the number of states that set the income eligibility level for Medicaid coverage of family planning services to at least the same level used to determine Medicaid eligibility for pregnancy-related care (the level varies by state).5 This expansion of coverage would decrease the number of pregnancies, births, and abortions among teens, and increase the number of dollars saved, in each state.6-11
States can expand eligibility for Medicaid coverage of family planning services to include teens under age 18 years by 1) securing approval (officially known as a “waiver” of federal policy) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2) amending the state Medicaid plan with a State Plan Amendment (i.e., a permanent change to the state’s Medicaid program), or 3) expanding the full state Medicaid program.
By 2014, more states will expand the full Medicaid program in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.12 As a result, the use of family planning waivers and state plan amendments will be used together with the expansion of many state Medicaid programs. However, given the experience in Massachusetts13–15 with full expansion, CDC recommends that states retain family planning waivers and state plan amendments for several years after 2014 to maximize access to care during this transitional period.
Status of expansion of state Medicaid family planning eligibility, United States (as of August 2013)
(State count includes the District of Columbia.)
Prevention Status Reports: Teen Pregnancy, 2013
The files below are PDFs ranging in size from 100K to 500K.*This report was updated on 4/16/14 to correct a data error to the graph, “Proportion of currently sexually active high school students who used a condom during last sexual intercourse.”