Getting access to birth control in North Carolina just got easier for people with Medicaid coverage. 

Starting Monday, Jan. 8, NC Medicaid will cover the cost of contraceptive counseling services and allow pharmacists across the state to enroll as Medicaid providers.

Counseling services include an evaluation and risk assessment, and are required prior to being prescribed contraceptives. 

Enrollment will help pharmacists to dispense or administer self-administered birth control, nicotine replacement therapy, prenatal vitamins, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV and glucagon, while ensuring the claims will be eligible for reimbursement. 

Pharmacists have been able to dispense these medications without a prescription since the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law in 2021 that allowed them to, but they could only provide contraceptives to those who had completed the mandatory evaluation and assessment. 

Until now, the cost of the evaluation and assessment were not eligible for reimbursement by Medicaid, keeping access to contraceptives out of reach for some patients. 

"More than half of all pregnancies in North Carolina are unintended, which can unfortunately lead to poor maternal and infant outcomes," said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for NCDHHS. "By expanding access to contraception and counseling services, we can improve the health of moms, babies and families throughout North Carolina."