April 24, 2015 — In today's graphics, we look at U.S. teenagers' increased use of long-acting reversible contraceptives and declining use of moderate- and least-effective forms of contraception. We also spotlight marketplace health plans' inadequate transparency on abortion coverage and lingering gaps in no-cost contraception coverage.
Teenagers' LARC Use Increases
A new CDC report has found that teenagers in the U.S. increasingly are using long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices and implants, but that overall use remains low compared with other forms of contraception.
This graphic, excerpted from the report, shows that the percentage of teenagers using LARCs has increased from 0.4% in 2005 to about 7% in 2013. Meanwhile, although the use of moderately effective and least effective forms of contraception decreased, they still remained more common than LARCs among teenagers. According to the study, the use of moderately effective methods decreased from 76.9% to 73.4% between 2005 and 2013 and the use of the least effective methods decreased from 22.7% to 19.5% during that time frame (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 4/7).
Marketplace Abortion Coverage Lacks Transparency
According to a new Guttmacher Institute report, individuals seeking to buy coverage from the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) insurance marketplaces face difficulty locating information on whether the plans include abortion coverage. Specifically, the report found that fewer than half of states that do not restrict abortion coverage in marketplace plans offer at least one plan that publishes resources explaining that they covered the procedure.
This map, excerpted from the report, outlines which states bar most abortion coverage in their marketplace plans and which states do not impose any coverage restrictions (Guttmacher Policy Review, 2015).
No-Cost Contraceptive Coverage Not Yet Universal
The Affordable Care Act has significantly improved access to no-cost contraceptives. However, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Lewin Group finds that some insurers still are not covering all FDA-approved contraceptives without copayments.
The chart above details coverage from the 20 surveyed insurers for several types of FDA-approved contraception, including emergency contraception and intrauterine devices, among others. The study did not examine coverage of oral contraceptives (KFF/Lewin Group report, 4/16).