Arkansas' Family Planning Waiver: Assessing Effects on Unintended Births and Other Outcomes

Kathleen Adams, Emory University
Genevieve Kenney, Urban Institute
Katya Galactionava, Emory University

Approximately half of all pregnancies in the United States are either unwanted or earlier than desired. The adverse consequences of unintended pregnancy are significant, including later entry into prenatal care, risky behaviors during pregnancy and other poor outcomes. In an effort to increase access to family planning services and in turn, reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy, a number of states have expanded Medicaid coverage for family planning services. This paper uses data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System to examine whether the Medicaid family planning Waiver implemented in Arkansas beginning in the late 1990s reduced barriers to and increased use of contraceptives and unintended births. Our preliminary findings, which are based on a difference-in-differences approach suggest that the waiver increased the post-partum use of family planning services; the only impact found on unintended births was for teens, which is consistent with national studies on Medicaid Waivers.

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Presented in Session 152: Effects of Government Policies and Incentives on Fertility and Reproductive Health