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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Gov. Tony Evers speaks at President Joe Biden's event at a Boys & Girls Club facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Evers fulfills order to eliminate out-of-pocket oral contraceptive costs for BadgerCare Plus recipients

The order fulfills Evers’ commitment from January to make over-the-counter contraception more accessible for BadgerCare recipients.

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday directed the Department of Health Services to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for BadgerCare Plus recipients seeking oral contraceptive drug Opill, fulfilling a promise from his State of the State address earlier this year.

Under Tuesday’s standing order from DHS, BadgerCare Plus members can enter any pharmacy that carries new FDA-approved non-prescription oral contraception and use the standing order to process their insurance coverage.

Previously, the program covered daily oral contraceptives with a prescription from a provider. The new standing order provides a much more efficient avenue for acquiring Opill, according to Evers. 

“Having the new Opill on the shelves across Wisconsin will expand access to more contraception options while also making it easier for folks to get the contraception they need when it works for them,” Evers said in a press release.

BadgerCare Plus is a government-funded health insurance program that helps low-income people in Wisconsin 64 and younger access health care. It is the state’s largest Medicaid program, covering preventative care, emergency visits and more.

“Streamlining access to contraception for BadgerCare Plus members helps them to make their own choices about their future,” DHS Secretary Kirsten Johnson said in the press release. “We appreciate the strong partnership of our pharmacy providers to help support the health needs of their communities.”

Opill was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2023. It is the first daily oral contraceptive approved for use in the U.S. without a prescription. 

A study published in May of 2023 from the Guttmacher institute found that 10% of Wisconsin women have experienced delays or have trouble obtaining contraceptives, with the most common barrier being cost.  

About one-third of these respondents said they could not afford contraception, and 24% blamed the inaccessibility on lack of health insurance. 

“By strengthening access to affordable, high-quality emergency contraceptives, more Wisconsinites can make their own decisions about how to live their lives and plan for their families,” Johnson said. 

Opill will be available in Medicaid-enrolled pharmacies in Wisconsin starting Tuesday and over the coming weeks, according to its manufacturer.

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Annika Bereny

Annika Bereny is the Special Pages Editor for the Daily Cardinal and specializes in state news and politics reporting. Follow her on Twitter at @annikabereny.

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