Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Washington's "Take Charge" - free birth control services for low-income

Changes in eligibility for WA State's "Take Charge" (free birth control services for low-income folks) to change November 1

Young people who need Family Planning Services may be eligible for free contraceptive services under the TAKE CHARGE Program. TAKE CHARGE is a Medicaid Demonstration project with the goal of reducing unintended pregnancy in Washington State. STD screening and treatment is very limited under TAKE CHARGE but the program offers full coverage for contraceptive services for those at risk of an unintended pregnancy. Clients apply at the family planning providers’ office and not at the welfare office (CSO). All family planning clinics and most Community Health Clinics in Washington are TAKE CHARGE Providers. There are other providers as well. For a TAKE CHARGE provider nearest you, please call 1-800-770-4334 or visit the Medicaid Family Planning Website:

For teens seeking confidential services, eligibility is based on the person’s own income, not his or her family’s income, so most teens would qualify if they didn’t already receive medical coupons. And once a person is insured by TAKE CHARGE, they can even obtain free condoms and other non-prescription contraceptives from any drug store, as well as confidential, free check-ups and birth control from any participating clinic. A number of other states also have family planning waivers. To see if your state has a family planning waiver, check the CMS website at:

The Take Charge program was extended for three years starting July 1, 2006. On November 1, 2006, some changes will be implemented. In short:
  1. Clients will have to show documentation of identity and citizenship. Your students should call ahead to see what they need to provide. Since the citizen verification process could take several weeks, clients will be enrolled in Take Charge if all other eligibility criteria is met pending citizenship verification. If the verification process determines that the client is NOT a citizen, they will be disenrolled. But, at least at Public Health - Seattle & King County, clients will not be billed for services performed during the presumed eligible enrollment.

  2. Social Security Numbers are required for all Take Charge applicants regardless of age.

  3. Students should provide accurate income information. Income info is required only for the applicant, not for other family or household members.

  4. Clients who have insurance coverage that includes any kind of family planning services are not eligible for Take Charge. Exception: Clients under the age of 19 may be excluded from this rule on a case-by-case basis for confidentiality reasons.

  5. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea screening and treatment are now covered when performed at the annual exam for female clients 13-25 years of age.

  6. When Plan B is available over-the-counter, Take Charge will cover it, regardless of the gender of the client, which means that we can dispense it to men over the age of 18 who request it. We will still be able to provide it to women, including those under age 18.

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it. - Abe Lincoln

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