Does Medicaid Cover Abortions

Does Medicaid Cover Abortions

This mainly depends on the US State in which you currently reside. Medicaid coverage for abortion is primarily limited by the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortions, with exceptions.

In many states, Medicaid coverage for abortions is restricted to cases involving life endangerment, rape, or incest due to the Hyde Amendment.

It’s so bad in some states that even when the pregnancy has been deemed a threat to their life, they still won’t get coverage.

However, some states use their funds to extend Medicaid coverage for abortions beyond the federal restrictions imposed by the Hyde Amendment.

What is an Abortion

An abortion, also known as termination of pregnancy, is the expulsion of the fetus or embryo before the fetus or embryo can be self-sufficient (in humans, typically, it’s at the 20th week of pregnancy).

Abortion can be brought on deliberately by artificial methods (Induced abortion) or may happen naturally (spontaneous abortion), otherwise known as a miscarriage.

Spontaneous abortions happen for various reasons, including genetic defects, trauma, disease, or biochemical incompatibility between the mother and the fetus.

Sometimes, a fetus can die in the uterus but fail to be removed; this condition is known as missed abortion.

Variation of Medicaid’s Abortion Coverage Across US States

Although more than a third of abortion patients have signed up for Medicaid, most of them are still unable to use Medicaid because of the Hyde Amendment limitations.

Beginning in 1977, the Hyde Amendment barred the use of Medicaid dollars for abortion procedures.

The issue of abortion coverage took center stage in many debates leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, it led to renewed statutory efforts at the state level to restrict the coverage of abortions by Medicaid.

The District of Columbia and some states provide Medicaid coverage for abortions only in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

Sixteen states use their funds to provide Medicaid coverage for abortions under broader circumstances than those specified by the Hyde Amendment. South Dakota restricts Medicaid abortion coverage to cases of life endangerment only, which is more restrictive than federal requirements.

Studies reveal that 53% of abortion patients paid out of pocket. Medicaid was second in line, and it accounted for about 24% of nationwide abortion coverage.

In states adhering strictly to the Hyde Amendment, Medicaid coverage for abortions is limited, impacting the percentage of abortions funded by Medicaid.

In states that fund abortions beyond the Hyde Amendment’s requirements, a larger percentage of abortions may be covered by Medicaid.

In the same year, 89% of abortion patients enrolled in Medicaid and required abortion procedures had their procedures paid for by their insurance.

Applying for Medicaid to Get Abortion Coverage

You can apply via phone or mail if you qualify for Medicaid in most states. But it’s recommended that you report to the office early and apply in person.

This is the most efficient way, and it will ensure you are enrolled as soon as possible since time is of the essence.

When applying, inform the caseworker that you are pregnant and would appreciate an accelerated application process.

It’s not a must that you tell the caseworker that you intend to have an abortion once your Medicaid coverage is complete.

You should be confident as you apply and know that if you are eligible for Medicaid, you have a right to receive abortion coverage.

If you need proof of US Citizenship, you’ll probably need your Passport or birth certificate.

You should know that federal poverty laws are often used to determine Medicaid qualifications.

However, in states where Medicaid covers abortion, you can have a higher income than the laws stipulate and still get Medicaid coverage if you’re pregnant.

Suppose you don’t reside in the 16 states that provide Medicaid coverage for abortion, and you haven’t signed up for Medicaid.

In that case, you won’t get any coverage unless the pregnancy is a threat to your well-being or the pregnancy results from incest or rape.

Which Abortion Procedures Can Medicaid Pay for?

Abortion Pill

The abortion pill, also known as medical abortion, is commonly used due to its non-invasive nature and lower cost compared to surgical methods.

This technique uses two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy.

This procedure can only be performed up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Mifeprex blocks the progesterone hormone; without this hormone, the embryo can’t attach to the uterus and grow.

On the other hand, Cytotec is taken a few days after Mifeprex, and when taken, it causes the uterus to shrink and push out the pregnancy tissue.

Surgical Abortion

There are two kinds of surgical abortion procedures, and they include:

Vacuum Aspiration

Vacuum aspiration is typically performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

You’re given drugs to numb the cervix, and then the physician will insert a tube that will eject the fetus using suction.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

In this procedure, an anesthetic is administered to numb the cervix, and then a dilator is used to open the cervix. Next, the physician inserts a thin tube and then connects the line to a suction machine that removes all the uterus contents.

No need to worry; surgical procedures are safe, and they take about 20 minutes. Medicaid beneficiaries can receive covered services at any Medicaid-enrolled provider that offers those services, including surgical abortions where legally permissible.

The hospital or clinic will give you instructions, and you can go back home once the process is complete. The clinic can schedule a follow-up appointment with a general physician or a gynecologist.

Final Thought

All in all, having abortion expenses covered by Medicaid offers a calming effect to what is already a very nerve-racking process for many.

Therefore, you need to confirm what the laws in the state you reside in stipulate about abortion coverage.

If you’re covered, you can visit your local Medicaid office and, if not, consider other third-party options.

See Also

Hardship Grants for Single Mothers

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Family Medical Leave Act

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Grants for Women Starting a Business

Current Version
August 9, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
April 14, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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