Access to contraception after health care reform in Massachusetts: A mixed-methods study investigating benefits and barriers
Dennis A, Clark J, Cordova D, McIntosh J, Edlund K, Wahlin B, Tsikitas L, Blanchard K. Access to contraception after health care reform in Massachusetts: A mixed-methods study investigating benefits and barriers. Contraception. February 2012 ;85(2):166-72.
Background: In 2006, Massachusetts passed sweeping health care reform legislation aimed at improving access to health care for residents. This study investigates how this landmark legislation affected contraceptive access for low-income women.
Study Design: This study included (a) 16 in-depth interviews with family planning providers, (b) 9 focus group discussions with 52 low-income English- and Spanish-speaking women, (c) 10 self-administered surveys of family planning administrators and (d) a systematic review of Web sites for government-subsidized insurance plans.
Results: Findings from all study components were highly consistent. We found that while most low-income women in Massachusetts continue to regularly obtain contraception, challenges such as maintaining insurance coverage, understanding benefits, securing an appointment with a provider and obtaining prescriptions were identified post reform. Findings about contraceptive affordability under reform were mixed.
Conclusion: Though health care reform legislation has benefited many women, barriers remain to ensuring consistent access to contraception for low-income women.