August 28, 2015 — Several organizations have pledged a total of about $2 million to temporarily fund a Colorado program that helps low-income and uninsured women access long-acting reversible contraception, state officials announced on Tuesday, the Denver Post reports (Paul, Denver Post, 8/25).
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative offers no- or low-cost LARCs, such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants, to low-income women at 68 clinics throughout the state. The initiative was established as a five-year pilot program through a private donation of about $25 million (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/8). The donation funding expired in July, and the program subsequently had longer waiting lists and was not able to offer as many services (Denver Post, 8/25).
The initiative has provided more than 30,000 IUDs and other LARC methods to low-income, uninsured or underinsured Colorado women. Since the initiative began, the state's teen birth rate has decreased by 40%. Meanwhile, the abortion rate among teens has decreased by 34%, according to Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Further, in that period, the state has saved about $23 million from averted Medicaid costs associated with birth. CDPHE officials have predicted the program could save the state up to $40 million in Medicaid costs that would otherwise go toward pre- and postnatal care.
In May, a Colorado Senate committee killed a measure (HB 15-1194) that would have provided $5 million in funding to continue the program. However, state officials have said the program would remain in place (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/2).
More than a dozen organizations have pledged funding to help continue the program, the Post reports.
According to CDPHE, "With new funding from Colorado funders and foundations, the initiative will be able to continue training health care providers, educating women on contraceptive choices and subsidizing as many as 6,000 [IUDs] or implants."
Meanwhile, state health officials, with support from Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), said they will renew their efforts to get funding legislation approved next year (Denver Post, 8/25).