Contraception today is legally one of the preventative health services covered by the Affordable Care Act. What does this mean? For most women, it is free. Currently, 67% of women under the bill are getting free birth control. So with that said, why are some, including maybe you, still paying? A lack of awareness of birth control policy with possible insurers to blame.
How does this work. Well first let’s discuss brand name birth control vs. generic birth control. To be honest there is not much difference between the two. Generic birth control has to include at least 80% of the active ingredients in brand name birth control. Meaning that both consist relatively of the same compounds. The reason many women choose to stick to brand name birth control is because of fear of the effectiveness of genetics. As of yet though, there has been no conclusive research that generic birth control is not as effective as their brands. Generic birth control also comes at a much cheaper price and are completely free under the Affordable Care Act. So despite knowing this why do some women still unwillingly pay and not switch over?
The most common reason is because they can’t. For very specific forms of birth control such as Ortho Tri-cyclen Lo there is no generic alternative. Even other contraceptive methods such as NuvaRing are caught in a financial trap, where many insurers refuse to cover costs believing they can take generic pills with the same hormones despite the Department of Health and Human Services declaring there are none. With that said though, if you fall into this category, you still don’t necessarily need to pay. According to the Department of Labor, if a generic version of contraception is not available or medically appropriate for the patient (as determined by the doctor), then the plan/insurer MUST provide coverage for the brand name drug WITHOUT cost sharing (co pays). Yes, it’s true. Under the laws that govern the US benefits coverage, every women should still have the opportunity for free contraception.
Despite this however, the reason why so many women still pay is a general unawareness and insurance company’s failure to educate. Many women, insurance representatives, doctors and even pharmacists aren’t on the same page about whether or not a co pay is necessary. In fact, certain insurance companies will even try to resist/find loopholes around paying for generics.
What is the best thing to do if you find yourself in this situation then? Research. Learn all there is to know behind the finances of your birth control. Also talk to your doctors. Doctors are patient advocates and should be more than happy to call your insurance company on your behalf. If you’re still being denied free birth control? Go to organizations like the National Women’s Law Center that provide templates and clear courses of action to obtain your most basic rights. Don’t be stuck doing what you don’t have to. Under the new laws, free birth control should be available to all women. The bottom line is therefore to ask yourself: so why are you still paying?