COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina lawmakers have been working to expand access to healthcare in South Carolina, especially for women’s health and recently a new law went into place that expands access to birth control.

The measure went into effect July 1st and extends the supply of birth control pills covered by Medicaid from a 30 day prescription to a year.

“We have tried for several legislative cycles filed legislation that would provide a 12 month supply of contraception at one filling,” said Representative Beth Bernstein.

As of July 1st, women in South Carolina covered by Medicaid insurance are able to get a prescription for 12 months of birth control pills instead of the 30 day supply previously allowed. Advocates say the change helps promote effective birth control.

“Consistent use of contraceptives is key to preventing unintended pregnancies, it’s the kind of thing you have to take every single day to work if you are having in a greater supply it’s shown to reduce the odds of unintended pregnancies,” said Ashley Lidow, of Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network.

This move will also increase access.

“And really the most vulnerable populations that medicaid serves have the issues with missing a pill unintended and access and transportation and things of that nature for rural areas not having a pharmacy open on the weekends,” said Bernstein.

This change does not apply to private insurance providers.

At least half of the states require all or most insurance providers that cover FDA approved prescription drugs to cover contraceptives.