In 1975, Loretta Lynn belted out a tune about the wonders of “The Pill.” I’m guessing it was more controversial at the time to be singing about the Pill than the actual money spent on it. And, for a coalminer’s daughter with six kids, Lynn was probably less concerned about her co-pay and more concerned with the benefits of the pill. But, nowadays, birth control is not so unheard of nor is the use of it rare. According to a study put out by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, 98% of American women have used birth control at some point in their lives. With so many women using some form of contraception and with the economy the way it is, I’m guessing co-pays are a major concern for a lot of women.
I know that I’ve been on the pill since I was sixteen and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries. The Pill has been a huge help in keeping my hormone levels normal. But it wasn’t easy to find the right pill. The first few pills I tried out didn’t work to regulate my period or keep my hormones in check. Still, I found the pill that works for me and it’s been great. What hasn’t been so great is $24 I spend each month to get my birth control. Since January, I’ve spent $144 alone on the Pill. Whoa! With that money, I could have bought lots of things – like books books for school or used it as gas money. At any rate, I could have put that money to better use. As a college student living off my parents, I (and as a result they) could use all the extra money we can get. And since most of my friends are on the Pill as well, I’m assuming they’re in the same boat I’m in.
Still, there’s hope! The Institute of Medicine released a decision yesterday that could help end contraceptive co-pays. And what a relief that would be! Not just that, but they’ve included all forms of FDA approved birth control. This is really great for a person like me, who had to go through several kinds of pills before I found the one that was just right and for those women who do not choose to take the Pill. The Department of Health and Human Services is now reviewing these recommendations and will soon decide which preventive health services for women will be covered at no-cost in all new health insurance plans. If they accept the recommendation to include birth control, I will soon be able to get my Pills each month, while forgoing my $24 co-pay.
If HHS includes birth control in their decision, I’ll be sitting pretty with a few new books on my shelf. With slight alterations to the Loretta Lynn tune, I “don’t have to worry none” because now I won’t be paying for the pill.
If you’d like to forgo your co-pays as well, urge Secretary Sebelius to accept these recommendations. Join us in signing this petition in support of ending contraceptive co-pays.