Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tova minus birth control equals ticked off

Attention: To anyone who doesn't want to read about birth control, periods, and other decidedly female issues, just skip this post.

So, those of you who twit... tweet... twitter... whatever... may have noticed that yesterday I tweeted my dismay at the following bit of news:

When Mr. Darling and I move, I will obviously have to stop using my job's fantastic, 100% company-covered health insurance plan, and transfer instead to Mr. Darling's new plan. That's fine, who cares, right? After all, the only thing I really use my health insurance for is annual gynecologist visits and birth control (the NuvaRing, which is the best ever, and which I recommend to anyone who has a uterus but who doesn't want a baby in there right now. I've tried the pill, the patch, and the ring, and the Nuva Ring is definitely the way to go. Unless you like to have a permanent layer of itchy, sticky stuff in squares all over your butt. In that case, use the patch), so I assumed switching wouldn't be a big deal.

And then I read the handbook for our new health insurance plan, and...

THEY. DON'T. COVER. BIRTH. CONTROL.

I re-read the "excluded prescriptions" section at least 10 times, feeling quite certain that I was missing some important clarification, like "Except for people who don't want to get pregnant anytime soon," but no. Right there, in black and white, are the completely moronic words, "Excluded Items: contraceptives, oral or other, when not used for medical reasons." The only exception is "oral contraceptives prescribed by a physician stating medical reason (other than birth control)."

First of all, I think it is utterly, ridiculously, shamefully irresponsible for a HOSPITAL to not provide their DOCTORS with the number one doctor-recommended method of birth control. Any doctor will tell you that hormonal contraceptives are the most effective method of birth control (other than abstinence, obviously). Yet the hospital is providing health insurance that won't cover it???

Secondly, I honestly think that it should be a law that insurance plans that cover things like Viagra should have to cover birth control. They will pay for ultrasounds, prenatal care, delivery, and all of the other medical expenses that go along with pregnancy. They will pay for 50% of the cost of fertility treatments. Basically, they will pay for everything involved in me getting pregnant, but they won't pay for anything that might keep me from getting pregnant. That seems completely discriminatory to me. "Wanna get pregnant? We'd be glad to help you out! Don't want to get pregnant? You're on your own." I'm forever hearing about various bills and laws regarding teenagers being able to easily access birth control without their parents' knowledge. What about married adults who just don't want kids yet??? Where are the laws guaranteeing my rights to have fair access to birth control? Why should a mature, responsible, tax-paying adult with a good job and health insurance have to pay for birth control out of pocket just because the insurance company doesn't particularly feel like covering it?

The NuvaRing is more expensive than the pill, but it is also more effective (and much cheaper than a baby). The reason it's more effective is that it leaves less room for user error. With the pill, if you're not taking it at the exact same time every day, you're reducing the efficacy and raising the risk of getting pregnant. With the NuvaRing, you just pop it in, and you're good to go for three weeks! Plus, I'm overly sensitive to hormone changes, so when I was on the pill, I got headaches all the time, and anytime I missed one and then had to take two to make up for it, I'd throw up for hours. It was awful. With the NuvaRing, there are no hormone spikes like there are with the pill, so I get less headaches and no nausea. (And yes, I'm aware that this sounds like a commercial for the NuvaRing. They're not paying me to say this - it's just honestly that fantastic. So far, I've gotten five of my friends to switch to the NuvaRing.)

I've already contacted my gynecologist, and because she's awesome, she's agreed to write me a letter saying that I need birth control for medical reasons (this is true. I originally started on birth control because I got debilitating cramps that made me miss a day or two of school every month, and my PMS was so bad that my gynecologist considered putting me on antidepressants, but then birth control evened me out and made me semi-normal), BUT I have a bad feeling that the insurance company is going to say that they'll only pay for oral contraceptives, and like I mentioned, I do not handle the hormone spikes associated with the pill well at all. Plus, I've very forgetful, so I'd probably forget to take it and end up preggers anyway.

In case you hadn't noticed, I am super ticked off about this. Mr. Darling keeps saying not to worry, that we'll pay for the NuvaRing out of pocket if we have to (it's like $50-$75 without insurance, which we can afford better than we can afford to have a child), and I know that. It's not that I'm worried - it's that I'm really, really angry. It's the principle of it. I don't think this is fair, I don't think it's right, and honestly, I don't think it should be legal.

I know this is rambling, but I'm really mad. Anyone know any senators they can convince to pass a bill in congress? Are there any petitions I can sign? Should we start a walk called "Tova's Really Angry March Against Jerks Who Won't Pay For Birth Control"?

UGH!!

20 comments:

Mojito Maven said...

WHAT?????????????? That is seriously ridiculous.

Now I may have to look into this Nuva ring business...

JayCee Leigh said...

I don't think that makes sense AT ALL. . . it's very "religious sounding" . . . "if we pretend it doesn't exist, it doesn't" That is absolutely ridiculous!!

SkylersDad said...

I guess they just want you to use abstinence...

Bwaaaa ha haha, I just crack myself up!

Former Fat Chick said...

Is it a religious hospital? Sounds strange...I would try and put it through anyway, see what happens. You can always get your Dr. to call them and tell them the the pill makes you very ill, etc, etc and since you "NEED" contraception for you health...sometimes the buckle under pressure. But as a rule, most Insurance co. SUCK!

Sassy Britches said...

I am really and truly shocked by this. A MEDICAL INSTITUTION is discriminating, essentially. I'm on the bandwagon with ya, sister!

Adriana said...

I bet it's a religious affiliated hospital (aka Catholic like Saint something)? Not that surprising. I bet they don't cover tubals either. Just a guess. Here is my recommendation...get an IUD. Seriously best birth control EVER. You can have your current doctor put it in before you leave or lose your current insurance and whala you are covered for up to 3-5 years depending on which type you go with. After a couple of weeks you can kiss your monthly bill (both money and the other) good bye. No worries, no yucky side affects from extra hormones, and nothing to worry about or do.

Curly Muse said...

Many insurances dont cover birth control and mine only covered part of the cost and not the one that I wanted. I ended up getting off oral birthcontrol because I was a mess of hormones! I think I might give that "ring" a try,... but I dont think I can insert anything that will stay in! I tried a type of period cup catcher thing that would not fit! (TMI I know I know) Oh well....

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

That is utterly ridiculous! They don't understand that they're actually saving money by paying for birth control? What the ...? I don't get it. At all.

Gwen B. (aka skinny bitch) said...

Oh I know, It's bullshit!!! My insurance doesn't cover it either and I am a hard working college student trying not to have a baby. I have to pay $45 a month for YAZ. That is really bad though when your hospital insurance wont cover it. It does sound prejudice and fucked up that they wont help you NOT get pregnant and then they complain about over population and shit. All I can say is, make birth control affordable and problem solved fuckers! I REALLY don't get (like you said) they even cover viagra to help a man get it up into you, but no BC!? WTF has the world come to!?!?!? Makes me feel like apiece of me that the government wants to impregnate at all cost!

Fabulously Broke said...

That ring sounds interesting. Meg talked about it before but I haven't gotten around to it... may be a good option vs pills.

Gwen said...

You should get an IUD while you still have your own insurance. One co-pay for five years and no periods.

I had the Nuva Ring for a long time until I discovered the IUD. It stays in for five years, or until you want it out, and I haven't had a period since. Totally recommend it.

Fancy Schmancy said...

I've had insurance like that in the past. And it really ticks me off when they will pay for a vasectomy, but not tubal ligation. Abstinence is working best for me right now, but I can see how that would not be a viable option for you!

Smalls said...

That is awful!!

It is seriously surprising too, cause I would think they'd want their female doctors not pregnant!!

Comedy Goddess said...

So they think it's more cost effective to pay for labor/delivery/c-section/post-surgery recovery/??? Wait, I get it now.

Smart. Real smart. More money for the hospital to bill itself. They don't make anything off of you staying un-pregnant.

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

Wow, that is definitely below average. I work in healthcare, mainly medical claims and insurance, but I never really pay attention to my company's benefits (because I don't use them). But at the last meeting a co-worker was telling me about the changes. Most plans are really starting to cut back. But I also know that we paid 5K in premiums last year. And had we paid as a cash patient for the 4 visits total, it wouldn't have even been 400 bucks.

Rachel said...

Can you get the Mirena? It is the IUD, if you haven't hard the commercials. It is good for 5 years, and if you get it inserted before you switch insurances, then you wouldn't need to worry about it. I don't think that it has a ton of hormones, but I'm not certain. Just maybe another option.

LegalMist said...

Insurance companies are so maddening. They have policies like these, which are not at all cost-effective, and which anger people so much that they want to sue their insurance company for discrimination.

Or they refuse to cover the recommended cancer treatment because it isn't on their "list," which makes people want to sue their insurance company when their loved one dies because they couldn't afford the appropriate treatment.

And then they want to blame their high rates on lawyers and lawsuits... when if they'd just get their heads out of their butts and pay for the reasonable treatments that people need, there would be far fewer lawsuits.

Moi said...

that is really crazy!

Sarah said...

not sure how I found your blog but if worse comes to worse, and you have a Planned Parenthood nearby, maybe try there...compare prices and all...doesn't fix the problem of it not being covered and it should but...

lgk said...

I second Sarah with the Planned Parenthood love. Even though I have insurance that covers my birth control, they only cover generics. So, I purchase my birth control from PP six months at a time and it is a significant cost savings.

In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes