Frugal birth control
April 15, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Frugality

Today I went for my annual gynecological exam. The yearly exam is not only a requirement for renewing a birth control prescription, but it is also an all around good health practice. I visit my local Planned Parenthood for my gynecological needs because I support their causes and find their prices to be very reasonable.

This was the first year that I used health insurance to help pay for the cost, but even when I paid entirely out of pocket, it was affordable. Planned Parenthood offers a sliding scale if you don’t have insurance and charges you for services according to your income. Exams run from $50 to $90 without insurance. My copay today was $25. You can fill your birth control prescriptions straight from them (convenient if you don’t have insurance or your insurance company doesn’t offer an affordable price for birth control) as well as get tested for STDs and receive prenatal care.

The NuvaRing is the birth control method that I currently use. It is the only one that I’ve ever used and I will probably continue to use it for quite awhile. Unfortunately, the NuvaRing is about double the cost of regular birth control pills. I think the extra cost is well worth it since I do not have to remember to take a pill everyday (at the same time everyday) and, therefore, have the peace of mind that I am always protected. I do not get my prescription filled from Planned Parenthood as the price is roughly the same as filling it at a pharmacy. I saw a note at the reception desk today that said that they are bumping the price up to $55 a ring in the next month, so I will definitely continue to fill my prescription through my insurance company at CVS where I get 3 rings for $80. For comparison sake, Planned Parenthood offers the pill for $16-18 a pack. I’m not sure how much my insurance charges for the pill.

When I was in college, I was able to get the ring for about $5 a piece. The government has since cut funding to school health centers and “safety net” heath care providers so that they can no longer offer discounted birth control. As I’m sure you can guess, I’m pretty livid about this action and I’m glad that organizations like Planned Parenthood are fighting to get the funding back. For more information concerning this federal budget cut and how it affects the price of birth control, check out this article at Time.com

I’ve considered switching to the pill so that I can save a good amount of money, but I really like the NuvaRing and I don’t really trust myself enough to take the pill everyday. I think I’m going to continue to use the ring and only switch to the pill if my insurance company raises the price even more. Paying a little extra to alleviate worry and continue using a product I genuinely trust and favor gets a frugal nod in my book.