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DHS standing order to increase access to OTC emergency contraception for BadgerCare Plus members
New standing order allows more Wisconsinites to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions
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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, as previewed in his 2024 State of the State address, announced the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued a standing order to ensure BadgerCare Plus members have direct access to over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraception. The order allows BadgerCare Plus members to get OTC emergency contraception from any Wisconsin Medicaid-enrolled pharmacy under their state coverage without a prescription from their doctor and with no out-of-pocket cost to them.

“Every Wisconsinite should be able to access the healthcare they need when they need it—and yes, that includes full, unobstructed access to contraception,” said Gov. Evers. “This is an exciting milestone in our work to expand reproductive freedom in Wisconsin, and I am thankful for all the partners involved in making this happen for the people of our state.”

BadgerCare Plus currently covers OTC emergency contraception and daily contraception with a prescription from a provider. This standing order streamlines access to OTC emergency contraceptives by serving as that prescription and removing the need to schedule and attend an appointment with a doctor to get a prescription.

“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,” said DHS Secretary Kirsten Johnson. “This is another step in our effort to increase access to reproductive health, including contraceptive care.”

Gov. Evers and Secretary Johnson visited with local communities across the state in Eau Claire, Wausau, and Green Bay yesterday to highlight this effort and learn more about barriers to contraception and what more can be done to increase access.

Under the standing order, pharmacists will submit claims to Wisconsin Medicaid for covered OTC contraceptives. DHS will work with pharmacists to implement the order statewide.

“The process for members is simple,” said DHS Medicaid Director Bill Hanna. “They’ll be able to go to any Medicaid-enrolled pharmacy, checkout with their ForwardHealth card, ask their pharmacist any questions, and walk away with the medication they need with no out-of-pocket costs. We’ll continue to work with providers and partners to implement common-sense ways to reduce barriers to Wisconsinites accessing health care options that are right for them.”

In addition to emergency contraception, last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first daily, oral contraceptive pill for use without a prescription, which is expected to be available online and in stores later this year. Once this contraception is available on shelves, BadgerCare Plus members will then be able to go to any Medicaid-enrolled pharmacy carrying it, and the pharmacist will use DHS’s standing order to serve as the prescription, allowing the patient to receive the medication with no out-of-pocket costs.