Press Release: NEW STUDY SHINES LIGHT ON COST, HEALTH BENEFITS OF INCLUDING CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE IN TEXAS’ CHIP PROGRAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Feb. 1, 2021                                                                                                 

Contact: Jennifer Harris
jharris@jwhcommunications.com | 512-773-7168

NEW STUDY SHINES LIGHT ON COST, HEALTH BENEFITS OF INCLUDING CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE IN TEXAS’ CHIP PROGRAM
Texas One of Only Two States That Does Not Provide Coverage

AUSTIN, TEXAS--A new report released today by the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy highlights the health benefits and potential state budget savings for the Texas Legislature to include contraception coverage in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Texas is one of just two states in the nation that does not cover contraception in CHIP for purposes of pregnancy prevention.

“Texas teens deserve access to the health care they need to be in charge of their futures and prevent unintended pregnancy,” said Molly Clayton, Executive Director of The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. “This policy would help reduce unintended teen pregnancies and also provide cost savings to the state.”

House Bill 835, recently filed by State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), would accomplish this policy change and is supported by the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and many other public health partners. A similar bill (HB 800, 86th Regular Session) filed in 2019 received bipartisan support in the Texas House but was not taken up by the Texas Senate. The Legislative Budget Board reported that HB 800 would result in cost savings to the state by averting unintended teen pregnancies.

The need for this policy change is urgent. The report found that among Texas teens enrolled in CHIP in Fiscal Year 2018, almost 1,600 experienced a documented pregnancy within the next year. While pregnancy rates are low among younger teens, 6% of 18 year olds enrolled in CHIP experienced a pregnancy by FY 19.

The Texas Campaign’s report, Contraceptive Coverage in the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), notes, “Access to effective contraception is a key factor associated with the decline in teen pregnancy and teen birth rates.”

While the teen birth rate has decreased by more than half in Texas over the last decade, Texas still maintains the ninth highest rate of teen birth nationwide, with a baby born to a teen mother once every 22 minutes. Half of Texas teens report having been sexually active by their junior year of high school.

“By restricting access to birth control for Texans who rely on CHIP for their health care coverage, we’re creating a barrier for young Texans who wish to avoid pregnancy, driving up health care costs for Medicaid and CHIP, and exacerbating troubling disparities in health outcomes for youth of color, those living in poverty and in rural areas,” Clayton said.

Only Texas and North Dakota fail to provide contraceptive coverage in CHIP for purposes of pregnancy prevention. HB 835 would require parental consent for minors to access birth control.

“By passing HB 835, Texas’ CHIP program would align with policy nationwide, ensuring low-income young women have opportunities to achieve their goals and provide a strong start to their families.,” said Clayton.

The report, including data from Texas and nationally, is available online at www.txcampaign.org/CHIP.

# # #

The Texas Campaign for Teen Pregnancy is a statewide, nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which aims to reduce teen pregnancy through research, advocacy, collaboration, and training. Our vision is that every Texas teen has access to the information and resources needed to prevent unintended pregnancy. Online at txcampaign.org.