Monday, September 10, 2007

Birth Control Costs Rising

Most people associate Medicaid with elderly citizens struggling to pay for their medications. Few people look at the recent changes to Medicaid and realize that it will have a huge impact on college students.

As reported today in the Boston Globe, the cost of contraceptives on college campuses are about to jump. Instead of a $7 or $10 cost for a pack of birth control pills, students will have to hand over $20 to $30 per pack. That's a huge difference for a population that generally is more concerned with paying for tuition than birth control. Additionally, the changes will prevent students from buying multiple packs at once, which increases the odds of interruption in use. If you know anything about oral contraceptives, it should be that their pregnancy prevention rates drop when not taken consistently.

The article says that when stockpiles of the cheaper rate pills run out, some Massachusetts college have decided to write prescriptions rather than hand out retail-priced pills. I'm not sure if that will make it any cheaper for students or not.

I would be interested to find out if this change impacts other birth control methods that are available by prescription only, such as the Nu-va ring, Norplant shots, or the Mirena IUD.

The larger issue here is obvious: making access to birth control more difficult. This is especially relevant because college-age women are a fairly sexually active group. Limiting their access to birth control leads to two things: a limit on women's sexual freedom or more unintended pregnancies. Not to mention other things that birth control pills are used for (treating various conditions like severe periods, or acne, or more complicated hormonal issues).

3 responses:

ccroceiii said...

Calla;

I am currently selling an incredibly effective form of birth control that I hope you will endorse.

It is a 4" piece of 2x4 spruce, you hold it tight between your legs just above the level of your knee.

It is not only environmentally friendly, but it can be recycled! My wife currently uses her's as both a door stop and a paper weight.

It currently retails for $4 and I am taking orders.

Vanessa said...

This sounds right in line with "teach abstinence only" in high school sex ed class (if they get that class at all). I find this incredibly infuriating. But clearly it's a conservative plot to put women back "in their place." After all, I'm sure my university wasn't the odd one out when it welcomed it's first years last week, 63% of which are female.

Calla said...

Vanessa,

I agree that it's a big part of the conservative agenda to limit women's access to birth control... perhaps it's their way of getting "even" for the fact that more women go to college and graduate school now?


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