5 Things Every College Student Should Know About Birth Control Access

It’s no secret that birth control empowers women to take control of their lives by allowing them to plan their education, career paths, and families according to their own needs and desired timeframes — which can be especially important for women in college. You may even be one of the 99% of sexually active women who have used birth control at some point in their lives.

If you are a student looking to make a difference on your campus and to educate others about birth control coverage and access, check out the CoverHer College Campus Toolkit. The toolkit includes FAQs about the health care law and birth control coverage, information about hosting educational events on your campus, and other materials to help you and your peers get involved with fulfilling the law’s promise of no-cost birth control.

To get started, here are five things you need to know about what’s happening with health care coverage and birth control access right now:

1. Did you know that birth control is preventive care? Thanks to the health care law (aka, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), new health care plans must cover all FDA-approved birth control methods alongside other preventive services without out-of-pocket costs (like co-payments or deductibles). This important benefit saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on the birth control pill in 2013. Like most things, birth control is not one-size-fits-all: now you can access the method that actually works best for you, without cost as an obstacle.

2. Being a college student can be hectic: between classes, jobs, relationships, athletics, and student groups, there’s not much time for anything but the most essential of tasks. Luckily, you are now allowed to stay on your parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26, meaning that finding your own health insurance plan is one less thing you have add to your already packed “To-Do” list right now.

3. If you get your insurance through a university or employer that objects to providing you birth control for religious reasons, you should still be getting birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. It should come directly from your insurance company, rather than from your university or employer.

4. That being said, some employers and universities have sued to prevent their employees or students from getting birth control directly from their insurance companies. Last week, the Supreme Court heard the case of Zubik v. Burwell to determine whether these objecting employers can make it more difficult, if not impossible, for women to access essential birth control coverage. Hint: We really think birth control should be between a woman and her healthcare provider — not her university or employer.

5. We know that navigating the world of health insurance coverage on your own can sometimes be confusing, time-consuming, and exhausting. If you have insurance but are still getting stuck with a bill for birth control, fight back. For tips about how to take control (and save some money), check out our resources at coverher.org.

It’s time to spread the word about women’s health care and rights. Using birth control as a college student could mean protecting your economic security and future plans, and no one should be able to take that ability away from you. The CoverHer College Campus Toolkit can help you learn more about birth control access and how to start planning your own campus awareness campaign today — because everyone deserves the ability to plan their futures in the ways they want.