Someone asked us:
I heard that birth control is free under Obamacare but I’m still paying for my pills every month. Why isn’t my insurance giving it to me for free?
There are a couple of reasons why this may happen. Here’s the deal:
New plans must also cover your visit to the doctor to talk about your birth control options as well as services related to contraception – like follow-up visits, management of side effects, and IUD insertions and removals. This is with no out-of-pocket costs to you.
But, there are a few reasons why your insurance may not cover a specific type of birth control at no cost.
Your insurance plan is only required to cover one type of each birth control method (e.g., implant, IUD, sterilization, and hormonal birth control), but not necessarily all of the products in that category. For example, if you want use birth control pills, you might be able to get Ortho-Tri-Cyclen at no cost, but not Loestrin. Or they may cover a generic brand of birth control pills at no cost, but require a co-pay for the brand-name version.
Plans must cover a brand name drug or a specific generic version if there’s a medical reason you need to use it over the version your plan covers. You can ask your nurse or doctor what methods are best for you, and they’ll help you request a “waiver” from your insurance company — this will allow you to use the brand name product or specific generic without a co-pay. You also want to ask your insurance company to check what the process is.
I see a potential market for “Christian health plans” which make the required coverage as hard as possible to obtain and use. Let’s brainstorm!
- Ridiculously bulky but functionally equivalent subdermal contraceptive implants. Beeping optional.
- Exotic IUDs! I’m sure with some work you could get something that marginally reduces fertilization and is significantly more painful to insert.
- Ormeloxifene; may be able to combine it with a difficult application method.
Of course, these require getting new products through the FDA, but with enough political momentum, it’s plausible.
Even today, right now, in the right states you could probably get alternative medicine to be a “default” part of the plan. I’m sure homeopathic birth control pills would go over quite well with the state legislature in, say, Mississippi.