Abortion providers' experiences with Medicaid abortion coverage policies: a qualitative multistate study

Health Serv Res. 2013 Feb;48(1):236-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2012.01443.x. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Objective: To evaluate the implementation of state Medicaid abortion policies and the impact of these policies on abortion clients and abortion providers.

Data source: From 2007 to 2010, in-depth interviews were conducted with representatives of 70 abortion-providing facilities in 15 states.

Study design: In-depth interviews focused on abortion providers' perceptions regarding Medicaid and their experiences working with Medicaid and securing reimbursement in cases that should receive federal funding: rape, incest, and life endangerment.

Data extraction: Data were transcribed verbatim before being coded.

Principal findings: In two study states, abortion providers reported that 97 percent of submitted claims for qualifying cases were funded. Success receiving reimbursement was attributed to streamlined electronic billing procedures, timely claims processing, and responsive Medicaid staff. Abortion providers in the other 13 states reported reimbursement for 36 percent of qualifying cases. Providers reported difficulties obtaining reimbursement due to unclear rejections of qualifying claims, complex billing procedures, lack of knowledgeable Medicaid staff with whom billing problems could be discussed, and low and slow reimbursement rates.

Conclusions: Poor state-level implementation of Medicaid coverage of abortion policies creates barriers for women seeking abortion. Efforts to ensure policies are implemented appropriately would improve women's health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / economics*
  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicaid / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • United States