Tips From the Hotline: Help! I Heard There’s a New Birth Control Ring on the Market. What Does That Mean for Me?
If the Contraceptive Ring is your birth control method of choice, you may notice something a bit different about your prescription refill. No, it’s not a star-shaped contraceptive ring, but a generic version of the well-known NuvaRing. EluRyng is the first generic contraceptive ring approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it’s important to recognize what this could mean for your health care and coverage.
Wait a second. I thought NuvaRing was the only Vaginal Ring available, what happened?
You are not wrong! Since 2002, NuvaRing was the only contraceptive vaginal ring available in the United States. That recently changed in December 2019 after EluRyng was approved by the FDA.
So that means NuvaRing and EluRyng are the same?
Essentially. Generic drugs are equal substitutes for their brand-name counterpart. As established by the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD), generic medications are required to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug. The only difference between NuvaRing and EluRyng is the name and appearance of the drug.
Will my NuvaRing be covered now that the generic version is available?
It depends. Generic medications typically cost less than their brand-name sibling. To save costs, some health plans may decide to no longer cover a brand name drug at no cost when a generic drug becomes available.
To comply with the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit your plan may cover EluRyng without out-of-pocket costs, while there may be costs towards your deductible or co-pays for the NuvaRing (even though they are medically the same!).
If you want to know whether your specific insurance plan covers NuvaRing or any other contraceptive method, you can find this information by viewing your plan’s drug formulary, a list of generic and brand name drugs covered by your insurance plan. This can be found by accessing your coverage information through your insurer’s website.
Will my Health Care Provider talk to me about EluRyng before prescribing it?
That’s difficult for me to answer. In my own experience, I have picked up generic versions of my medications from the pharmacy even though my doctor only referenced the brand name drug. Other times my doctor explicitly told me I was being prescribed the generic medication for cost-saving purposes.
Regardless of whether it’s mentioned or not, knowing that a generic version is available allows you to have a proactive conversation with your doctor. A discussion with your doctor can be very helpful if you are nervous about switching to a generic or have general questions about EluRyng.
It is also important to remember that EluRyng is relatively new to the U.S. drug market and may not yet have shipped to your pharmacy.
I’ve tried EluRyng and am experiencing negative side effects, how do I return to NuvaRing without paying out-of-pocket costs?
In situations where the generic drug is not a medically appropriate option (as discussed with your provider), plans are required by the ACA to offer a waiver process. You and your provider can request a waiver to obtain a nonpreferred drug, like NuvaRing, at the same cost that would apply to drugs in your plan’s drug formulary. Generally, you can find information about submitting a waiver request via the insurer’s website or by calling your insurer directly.
This has been so helpful! Where can I find more information about birth control coverage for myself, friends, and family?
OMG, Thank you! You are too kind. If you have more questions about the birth control benefit or experiencing issues getting your birth control covered please visit www.CoverHer.org or contact us at [email protected], or 1-866-745-5487.