Disparities in Access to Appointments for Contraceptive Services Among Black, Hispanic, White, and Recently Incarcerated Women in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Published In

Health Services Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective To measure differences in access to contraceptive services based on history of incarceration and its intersections with race/ethnicity and insurance status. Data Sources and Study Setting Primary data were collected from telephone calls to physician offices in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi in 2021. Study Design We deployed a field experiment. The outcome variables were appointment offers, wait days, and questions asked of the caller. The independent variables were callers' incarceration history, race/ethnicity, and insurance. Data Collection Methods Using standardized scripts, Black, Hispanic, and White female research assistants called actively licensed primary care physicians and Obstetrician/Gynecologists asking for the next available appointment for a contraception prescription. Physicians were randomly selected and randomly assigned to callers. In half of calls, callers mentioned recent incarceration. We also varied insurance status. Principal Findings Appointment offer rates were five percentage points lower (95% CI: −0.10 to 0.01) for patients with a history of incarceration and 11 percentage points lower (95% CI: −0.15 to −0.06) for those with Medicaid. We did not find significant differences in appointment offer rates or wait days when incarceration status was interacted with race or insurance. Schedulers asked questions about insurance significantly more often to recently incarcerated Black patients and recently incarcerated patients who had Medicaid. Conclusions Women with a history of incarceration have less access to medical appointments; this access did not vary by race or insurance status among women with a history of incarceration.


© 2024 Health Research and Educational Trust



Persistent Identifier