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"?