In a day and age where people use their voices to fight back on the injustices of the world, you would think that necessities like birth control would be accessible to all women. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. The extra expense, unavailability of the desired brand, or insurance make birth control unavailable to a lot of women. Our society clearly has a long way to go. Where do we start? Well, health insurance is a stepping stone. Most women use this option to cover the expense of their medication, but oftentimes it doesn’t cover the full cost or there are other obstacles. It shouldn’t be this difficult for women to have full control over their reproductive rights. This list is for all the ladies out there who need some guidance on how they can get birth control for an affordable price.
Check out 10 tips to reducing your birth control pill costs.
1. Go Generic
Birth Control comes in all shapes and sizes. Most importantly, it comes in all different price ranges—making it easy to find one that you can comfortably afford. Like most drugs, generic versions are cheaper and more accessible for people who can’t afford the name brand. “Birth control pills can be surprisingly inexpensive—$4 or $9 a month, for example, for some brands,” founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts Jeanne Pinder said. Other than the health benefits, the price of your medication is an important factor. If it’s too expensive, don’t settle—find something that fits your wallet and body’s needs.
2. Be Determined
Sometimes starting the birth control journey is the hardest part. “I’ve still not found the right type for me, and I’ve tried many different versions of the pill,” University of Iowa sophomore Caitlyn Grebner said. If one medication doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to speak up. Unlike its name, birth control doesn’t have to control you. It’s your body, so make sure what you’re putting in it works. “I still don’t know which birth control is right for me—it’s a trial and error process,” Penn State University alum Colleen Wismer said. If you’re not happy with your current medication or the side effects are too much to handle, let your doctor know. There are loads of different options out there, so you don’t have to struggle.
3. Health Insurance to the Rescue
Under the Affordable Care Act, if you have health insurance, then one form of birth control should be free or close to no cost. So what’s the downside? You may not get this type of coverage if your insurance is through an employer. Their insurance may block the plan or simply not cover it. For example, religious employers or non-profit organizations don’t have to cover birth control. If you’re not sure whether your birth control should be covered or whether you’re being charged too much, reach out to your insurance company and provider. You can even reach out to friends and family to see what their plans are like. Women support women, so don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance.
4. The Internet is Your Friend
Do some research. Once you start looking, the health care information will come flooding. The National Women’s Law Center offers great advice on how women can get birth control for low costs. It even offers a phone number to call for extra assistance. Goodrx and Blinkhealth let users type in their desired prescription and matches them with pharmacy prices near their zip code.
5. Planned Parenthood Has Got Your Back
Planned Parenthood is nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally. They give consultations in order to provide women with the birth control that will best suit their needs. “Sometimes a campus health center or Planned Parenthood will have options that are free or nearly free,” Pinder said. Your birth control journey shouldn’t be confusing or lonely. There are people out there willing to reach out a helping hand. Let the experts at Planned Parenthood provide you with the comfort you’re searching for.
6. Make Sure the Price is Right
Be aware that not all pharmacies are created equally. Since prescription drugs don’t have a fixed cost, prices vary depending on what pharmacy you go to or what brand you have. To be sure you’re getting your birth control for a reasonable price, look to see how much each pharmacy charges. You’re bound to find one that best suits you and your wallet. What’s the best way to find these prices? Take matters into your own hands. “You can find out the price by choosing what pill you want, and then calling two or three pharmacies— one independent, one big-box like Target, and one chain like CVS,’ Pinder said. You can never be too proactive or informed when it comes to what you’re paying for.
7. Try Different Forms
If you can’t keep up with the cost of the birth control pill, there are other methods that won’t break the bank. Although the pill is 91% effective, there are other forms of birth control out there. Research, research, research. Try a different method— IUD, the sponge or the patch. “I’ve tried many different versions of the pill, because my cramps were horrible. Now I have an IUD to help with my cramps,” Grebner said. Planned Parenthood has all of the different types of birth control listed on their website as well as information about them. You can see how effective they are, how much they cost, how they work and where you can get them. The website even breaks them down based on what they are best for—preventing pregnancy, helping with periods and informing you on STDs. Why stress yourself out when information is available with a click of your key?
8. Find a Great Resource
Besides providing women with the resources for finding affordable birth control, The National Women’s Law Center provides information on all topics related to gender equality. It’s a perfect spot for women to get inspired and hear from others about how to take charge over their rights. Your doctor is a great outlet for questions and concerns. They’re an expert on the topic and want what’s best for you. “I spoke to my doctor and she helped me chose which birth control was right for me,” Jefferson University alum Sami Sandler said. Your gynecologist’s office is a judge free zone where you should feel safe to ask any and all questions, it’ll make your experience easier.
9. Take Some Quizzes
If you’re not sure which method is best for you, find a quiz. Planned Parenthood has a quiz you can take that asks general questions like your age, ethnicity and zip code. They also have more personal questions that allow women to pick why they are going on birth control, what they are looking for and what they need in their prescription. Nervous about having a discussion with your doctor? Use the quiz as a spark for the conversation and get a second third and fourth opinion. It will help you get a general idea of what you should be looking for and why.
10. Be Patient
The birth control journey isn’t always an easy one. Although there may be some bumps along the road, finding a birth control that meets all your needs is always worth it. Birth control is a trial and error process—most women don’t get it right on the first try. “Once you find the right pill, it is an easy once a day step that leads to such relief,” Villa Joseph Marie junior Abby Wyatt said. Don’t settle—ask your doctor questions, call your insurance agency and inform others of the many benefits of birth control. “Having to talk to doctors about my body has made me loud and proud to talk about birth control,” Grebner said. Be open about your experiences, for all you know, someone out there is going through the same struggles as you.
How Do We Break Down the Stigma Around Birth Control?
Speak up, share your voice and encourage others. If someone has questions, guide them in the right direction. Be aware that not all people fully understand the full scope of what birth control does for women. Although we have come a long way on reproductive rights, there is still so much to be done. If we keep speaking up and out about the rights we have over our own bodies, we won’t be able to be ignored. Let’s get to a day where all women can have access to free birth control.