ACPM recommends reproductive health care benefits for adolescents

Washington, D.C. - The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) recommended today that state health insurance programs pay for comprehensive reproductive health services for adolescents. Among ACPM's highest recommendations, State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) should cover reproductive health assessments during periodic health examinations and cover the prevention, detection, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. SCHIP provides health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured children and adolescents from families with incomes above state-set income eligibility ceilings for Medicaid, but at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

According to Dr. Robert Harmon, President of ACPM, "Prevention and primary care services are essential for adolescents since the most serious, costly, and widespread reproductive health problems--sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy--are preventable. Preventive care such as education, screening, and counseling can help to promote and establish health-related behaviors in adolescents that last a lifetime."

ACPM also recommends that states provide coverage for family planning services and counseling--including pregnancy option counseling, distribution of contraceptive devices, and available emergency contraception--to adolescents enrolled in SCHIP. Appropriate pregnancy option counseling and follow-up should be offered to adolescents who test positive for pregnancy. Equally important is the appropriate counseling and follow-up for adolescent women who have a negative pregnancy test so that they do not become part of the population of adolescents with an unplanned pregnancy.

SCHIP's broad parameters allow states considerable latitude to set eligibility standards and to design a package of benefits. ACPM's recommendations appear in the ACPM position statement, "The Scope of Reproductive Health Care Benefits for Adolescents under the State Children's Health

Contact: Jennifer Bretsch
American College of Preventive Medicine

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