The state House has again voted for a measure aimed at increasing women’s access to birth control while saving the state money.
House Bill 1499 would let health care providers use a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) for a patient other than the one to whom it was initially prescribed.
When a woman in Missouri chooses to have a LARC implanted her doctor must order that device and the woman must return for another office visit to have it implanted. If the woman changes her mind before the second visit and doesn’t want the device, Missouri law doesn’t allow it to be used for another patient. It must be returned to its manufacturer and often it is destroyed.
Dogan said in Fiscal Year 2017 about 1,800 LARCs were “abandoned” by patients in Missouri. About 1,000 of those could have been used for other patients and that would’ve saved Missouri about $220-thousand.
The proposal has been sent to the Senate 133-10. Last year it was passed as an amendment to other legislation, but was not passed in the Senate.
Proponents say a bill in the Missouri House would expand access to birth control and save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
House Bill 1499 would allow health care providers to use a long-acting contraceptive device for a patient other than the one for whom it was initially prescribed.
In Missouri when a woman goes to a health care provider and elects to use a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), her provider must order that device and implant it on a subsequent office visit. Often women don’t return to have the device implanted, and Missouri law doesn’t allow that device to be used by another patient – it must be returned to its manufacturer and is often destroyed.
In Fiscal Year 2017 approximately 1,800 LARCs were so “abandoned” in Missouri. About 1,100 of those could have been used in other patients, saving the state approximately $220-thousand dollars.
He said House Bill 233 could help reduce Missouri’s unplanned pregnancy rate by as much as 25-percent.
HB 233 would let pharmacists prescribe oral contraceptives to those 18 or older regardless of whether that person has a previous prescription. Those younger than 18 who have evidence of a previous prescription could also be prescribed the pill by a pharmacist.
The legislation is projected to save Missouri money, and Dogan said it would save women money and time by negating the need for some visits to their doctor.
Dogan said he favors making birth control over-the-counter, but noted such proposals have not been adopted in states that are more politically progressive than Missouri, and he doesn’t feel such a bill would be likely to pass in the Missouri legislature.
Shannon Cooper testified against HB 233 on behalf of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Missouri Coalition. He said their primary concern was that without the need for a prescription, women would make fewer visits to their doctors.