We describe contraception use by race and ethnicity before and after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and assess the relationship between insurance coverage and prescription contraception use in both periods.
Using data for women ages 15 to 45 at risk of unintended pregnancy from the 2006–2010 and 2015–2017 National Surveys of Family Growth, we examined changes in patterns of contraception use over time by race and ethnicity. We also examined changes in insurance coverage over the same period and considered how the relationship between insurance coverage and prescription contraception use has changed over time within each racial and ethnic group using both descriptive and multivariate regression methods.
Before the ACA, Black and Hispanic women were less likely than White women to use prescription contraception by 13.2 and 9.9 percentage points, respectively. After the ACA Medicaid and Marketplace coverage expansions, all groups experienced a decrease in uninsurance, but only Black women experienced a significant increase in prescription contraception use. As a result, the post-ACA Black–White difference in prescription contraception use narrowed to 3.9 percentage points, and the Hispanic-White gap remained unchanged.
Our results suggest that, despite significant declines in uninsurance under the ACA, there was no increase in use of prescription contraception for White or Hispanic women. Moreover, the decrease in uninsurance among Black women did not fully explain the large increase in use of prescription contraception for this population.