Thursday, August 9, 2012


What Are We Doing Now That Birth Control Is Free?

Previously: What Do We Have in Common With Michael Phelps?

Ann Friedman isn't pregnant.

92 Comments / Post A Comment

Anne Helen Petersen

(Should be) 100% = Thanking President Obama

New Hoarder

@Anne Helen Petersen INDEED!


@Anne Helen Petersen And Kathleen Sebelius!


@Anne Helen Petersen I absolutely agree with you!!

New Hoarder

Spending monthly birth control allowance on "free" celebratory booze!

@New Hoarder Yesterday I spent mine on a pedicure!


@Killerpants I think so, although it may depend slightly on brand. Not all brands are covered (particularly if there is a generic) by all plans. Every plan must cover each TYPE of contraceptive, but they don't have to cover all of them.


@Ophelia Ah ha. That is helpful. Thanks Ophelia! I'm on a generic, so I think i'll be set (i hope).


@Killerpants My generic is $5. But it was $5 before "free birth control" went into effect. I don't really understand what's happening there...


@rosaline I think there are also some plans that have existing agreements that are grandfathered in, and won't transition over until 2013 or 2014? But someone more-informed than I am should probably chime in.


@rosaline Yeah, it's not really "free" at all, as s.e. smith covered at Tiger Beatdown here.


@rosaline From what I understand, the changes don't take affect until your plan is renewed (which happens once a year). It happens in January for a lot of corporate plans and in August for a lot of student plans.


@anachronistique That's a useful summary - thanks for posting.

Did anyone else find it weird that she kind of jumped on "Greg" in the comments? (maybe there's commenter history there, tho.)


@xx-xx-xx The weird part is, my plan doesn't renew until January, so I'm still paying the co-pay for the pills, YET for some reason when I went for my annual in...May? I think? they didn't charge me a co-pay for the visit (it's usually like 40 bucks). And it wasn't a billing error like I assumed, because they never billed me for it later. Anyone have a clue what is going on here?


@WaityKatie if by "annual" you mean annual well woman exam at the OB/GYN, those are generally covered by insurance.


@anachronistique Thanks for the link, that was great.

I don't know what happened to my original post. I tried to edit something minor and it went all deletey on me. Oh well.


@allofthewine Yes. I mean, it is covered by insurance, but I used to have a 40 dollar co-pay for it, and now there is no co-pay. (Could just be something changed with my insurance plan that I didn't pay attention to, but I read somewhere that all well-woman visits are now going to be considered preventive care and therefore co-pay free).

a small sea

@Ophelia I noticed that. I also noticed the author's use of cis women and wondered about trans men/anyone potentially capable of becoming pregnant, so I appreciated Greg's comment. It did come off as hostile to me but I figured that the author had read/heard enough derailment and mansplaining that she (I assume the author was female?) wanted to shut it down quickly. I've done the same thing before and then taken a step back and realized, "hey, this is okay, this is not an attack that you need to defend against!" Then again, a lot of times, I feel like I get it right and people ARE commenting in a way that takes away and distracts from the conversation. But I didn't think Greg was doing that.


@a small sea Okay, this is a small, silly question, but I figure this is as good as any a place to ask. How do you pronounce "cis"? I only learned this concept a few months ago, thanks to the Pin, and I have never heard anybody use it IRL, and in my head it's "siss" but I don't know if that's right.


@packedsuitcase My trans roommates pronounce it "sis", so I'm going to assume that's the correct pronunciation, since they're as close to authorities as I can get.


@WaityKatie So, in a previous phase of HCR (sometime in 2010?) they started covering "route PAP smear, pelvic exam, and breast exam" at 100%, no copay, no coinsurance, deductible waived. In this new waive that will start whenever your plan renews they are covering "well-woman visits." I don't have any idea what a "well-woman visit" is if not the PAP/breast/pelvic exam, so can't help there, but anyway that's why you didn't pay a copay in May.


@frannypants Oh, weird. I wonder why I still had to pay for it in 2011 then? Oh well, I'll take it.

a small sea

@spoondisaster I'm with y'all - I've always heard it pronounced sis like short for sister. I always assumed it comes from chemistry because, in organic chem, if a molecule has two additional groups sticking off it and they're on opposite sides, it's called trans but if the two groups are on the same side, it's called cis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cis%E2%80%93trans_isomerism The diagram on the right explains what I'm trying to say in a better way. I have no idea if that's actually where it came from - jk, I started to actually read the article about isomerism and it comes from Latin. Duh. It all comes from Latin.

sarah girl

You know, I'm actually a little disappointed right now that I have an IUD!

(not really)


@Sarah H. I'm getting one as soon as I can figure out when to schedule the insertion! (I still haven't found a GYN out here that I like and would rather go back to my old one whom I trust, which means taking time off. ALAS.)


@Sarah H. Me too! I got one partially because it meant no monthly costs for the pill. Of course, the fact that it's also good for 5 years is cool too.


@Sarah H. I'm disappointed because I had to pay the full cost of mine when I got it 2 years ago, but whatever!

@anachronistique I forget, are you in Cambridge? I go to Mt Auburn, where for a while I had Dr Amy McGaraghan, who is the best gynocologist in the world (and did my insertion). She changed locations to somewhere really inconvenient for me (Arlington, might be convenient for you?), so I stayed with Mt Auburn and was reassigned Dr Esther Yun, whom I've only seen once since but whom I really liked as well.


@Sarah H. I want an IUD like you wouldn't believe. I even scheduled an insertion appointment but the doctor gave me an ultrasound beforehand and deemed my uterus "too small". Saddest day of my life.


@anachronistique This may be waaaaay overshare-y, but because (I think) I recall you're in Boston, I'll throw it out here: I go to Julie Miner, on some pretty strong positive recommendations. They're all right: she's fantastic. I see her at the Faulkner, out in JP, but I know she has offices in a couple of other places too. Every girl should have a gyn she likes.


@SarahP, @cat_ballou - I am indeed in Cambridge, and thank you guys so much for the recs! I will probably still see my hometown doc for the insertion but I will definitely check these people out so as to have someone out here. WOO.

saul "the bear" berenson

@Sarah H. @Sarah H. You took the words right out of my mouth! Or, um, the comment right out of my keyboard?

IUD's for everyone! They are the best!

@Weasley, try a different doctor. I didn't have any ultrasound beforehand, and all is fine w/ my IUD. I'm not a doc and yours might be right, but it's worth a second opinion.

Lily Rowan

@SarahP I'm just commenting so I can come back and find this post if I do decide to switch to Mt Auburn (which seems likely, now that I live in Cambridge and am on some crazy tiered new insurance).

Sea Ermine

@Weasley Maybe go to another doctor and get a second opinion? Also, in Canada I believe one of the two IUD options (I think the Flexi-T) is smaller than the U.S IUDs so if you can afford it and can take time off to go up there maybe that's something to look into. I believe Canadia IUDs are between $90-$150 (not sure if that's Canadian or U.S. dollars).


@Sea Ermine @Weasley go to a different doctor if in any way possible. I just got one, and there was no IUD, she was just like, ok, you had a normal pap, so, let's go. No ultrasound. I think some doctors are nervous about doing them on young women who have not had children (because of previous studies on them) which are WRONG so they will invent new things to prevent women from getting them (also, to prevent women from having all the sex they want)/end rant

saul "the bear" berenson

@robyn.andrews Yes. I really don't think you need an ultrasound... I think this is a doc being squeamish, and if that is the case, that's not the doc you want doing your insertion.

Sea Ermine

@robyn.andrews I totally agree. I'm young and have never had kids and at Planned Parenthood they inserted my with no problem and no ultrasound (there was this weird plastic stick measuring thing that I got stuck in me to see how big my uterus was but I believe that was just to make sure it was placed properly, not to see if it was to big/small). The only other requirements were that I had a pregnancy test (they just had me pee in a cup during my consultation) and a pap smear (maybe? I think so). I also went ahead and got tested for the usual STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea) plus herpes and syphillis but it wasn't required I only did it because I planned to stop using condoms with my boyfriend (who also went and got tested for the same things) once I got an IUD.


@Sea Ermine yeah. I had just had all the blood work done, and she did check for how my uterus tilted, so that she could insert it properly. @Weasley. Dooo it! Find out how you can in your city!


@Weasley I have an IUD and am super happy with it (well, I wish I'd gotten the Mirena instead of the Paraguard, but other than that, I'm happy). A friend of mine got one and twice it came out because her uterus was too short. So she ended up paying $700+ for insertions and ultrasounds and office visits and still ended up with no IUD. If your gyn says your uterus is too short, I would listen!

Electric Mayhem

@Weasley I'm an Ob/Gyn. Find a different doctor! There's no such thing as a "too small" uterus. There are a couple of contraindications to IUD insertion but they are either rare or treatable (active STD, didelphys uterus, Wilson's disease). Some doctors are unfamiliar with IUDs and may be unnecessarily uncomfortable, so get a second opinion. If you can't find another doctor, Planned Parenthood is great about offering accurate medical information and contraception.


Ironically, talking about having kids. Nice timing, Team Ophelia.


@Ophelia BABIES?!?!?


@SarahP I mean, hopefully only one at a time.


@Ophelia No, it's perfect really because now you can 1. have a baby; 2. make sure you don't have another baby until you: 3. have another baby. Or 4. Not!


@Ophelia ALSO, they are now covering breast feeding counseling and supplies. Free breast pump! And there are some other screenings for pregnant women. Your timing was actually impeccable.



Mine isn't free. :( But it is pretty cheap. :)


+1 for photographing this on top of a Wellmark letter.


I'm adding a whole 'nother pie that says "Continuing to pray for birth control that doesn't make me a hormonal nutcase, that doesn't make me bleed for two weeks nonstop, that doesn't make my uterus feel like it's housing a double ended sword (seriously, FU IUD). Maybe something that won't make my crotch feel like it's on fire and then gives me a yeast infection. Or one I don't have to throw away if I lose 10 lbs. Basically, send me a birth control unicorn because this shit is weak."






@teenie ACK HI! It was great--I will send you pics as soon as I get them!

Unfortunately I just had my IUD taken out because I could feel it stabbing my uterus (!!!) all the time. BUT I did hear they're working on making a mini IUD for women who haven't had children, which would be awesome.


@parallel-lines yeah, that would be good - and the mirena works on different principles too - it's a bit softer, and doesn't work to inflame the uterus like the copper IUD does, at least that's what my doctor says, sooooo yeah. and i've heard from other ladies who have struggled with hormones that the mirena is low dose enough to not give the crazies.
it makes you wish you could "try before you buy" with the iud. but... yeah. probably not a good idea.

apples and oranges

@parallel-lines Oo! do you know when the small IUD is predicted to be available? (Also congrats on your wedding!)


@kangerine mine is a mirena, and, I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I had a very bad experience with Hbc, and now is much better - I can still tell that I have hormones, but I want to get out of bed in the morning and do things, so, that's a plus.


Anybody know if there are contraception access funds for the uninsured out there? Would Planned Parenthood be the best bet? I'd like to donate my old copay amount since the uninsured still don't get free birth control.


@cuminafterall Planned Parenthood is great! I got bc through them for a stretch of uninsured months, as well as when I was in college and didn't want to use my parents insurance.

I am extending to you ALL OF THE HIGH FIVES for your generosity. Rock on!

maybe partying will help


As one of the uninsured I say, Thank you kindly, lady!



That's a great idea! When this benefit kicks in for me, I'm going to send Planned Parenthood a bigger-than-usual check.


@cuminafterall This is a great idea!

I'd honestly love to still go to PP for my regular care, but now that I have insurance it happens to be one they don't take.

dj pomegranate

@cuminafterall This is a really lovely idea and I am going to join you in this on September 1, 2012, when my insurance starts being awesome (I have an IUD, but other things that on Sep 1 will be covered 100% by insurance, which YESSSSSSS.) Share the contraceptive wealth!


@cuminafterall I was totally going to come in here and say something funny somewhere in the comments, but your idea stopped me in my tracks. As someone who's relied on receiving care from PP a few times when I wasn't covered, I'm head over heels in love with this idea! I'm with PatatasBravas, here's all the high fives!


@phillystout @cuminafterall big heart for PP. When some douchey Canadian MP was all like "let's talk about abortion" I was all like, let's give PP some cash money!


@cuminafterall A) You are awesome. B) That's a great idea. Sending some extra reproductive healthy monies to PP!


slight side note: i had a crazy dream last night that my IUD just kinda... came out. like, nbd. it was really weird.

elysian fields

I did the math, and I'm saving $0.51 per day henceforth.
.... I'M RICH!!

Passion Fruit

@elysian fields

Put that $0.51 in a 401K account, Ms. Moneybags! With compounding interest, in a million years, YOU'LL HAVE TEN DOLLARS! Think of all the boyfriends you'll be able to buy. Think of them!


@Passion Fruit Start saving for your Winter Boyfriend now! Then you'll be able to buy a good one when they come into season!


I have a question. Maybe someone here knows the answer - there seem to be some pretty clever ladypart people around.

In a huge, happy coincidence, I had my IUD inserted on the day that the birth control mandate went into effect. I didn't plan it that way; I didn't even think about it. I have sweet state employee health insurance. Does this mean I got myself a free IUD? Does the no co-pay thing apply to stuff you can't swallow?



Your plan may not have been covered by the provision yet, but yes, it covers IUDs since it covers all FDA-approved forms of contraception (including some forms of sterilization).


@KatnotCat I'm happy for everyone getting free contraception, but now I'm looking forward to the FDA approving that reversible male procedure. The one where switching between shooting bullets and blanks is a breeze. There's always more to hope for.

apples and oranges

@whizz_dumb YES TO THIS.


@kangerine yes. why more men don't do this, I don't know. I have some ideas... but still, why is it all on the woman!


@kangerine Seriously this is like the answers to all our uterus prayers - no more BC that gives you 14-day periods, that pumps you full of hormones, that you have to take every day, or that hurts like hell to insert. Whyyyy is it always about the ladies?!


It's more than a matter of FDA approval, right? The procedure isn't available at all in the U.S., right?



@josiahg I learned about it here and we chatted about it back in April.

Cat named Virtute


Oh, squiggles

I can't afford health insurance. So still having to cover all my own health care costs. Out of pocket. Yep.


I'm confused. I just got my Nuvaring a few days ago and it was still nutso expensive...no change in price at all. I'm in CA and have blue cross insurance. Whaaaaat the fuck?


@Nutellaface Your plan may not have renewed yet. Mine did in July, which means I have 11 months to go before I get this benefit. Sad trombone.

Electric Mayhem

@Nutellaface (I'm an Ob/Gyn). This is unfortunately still a problem with Nuvaring, because it is only available as a brand name and not as a generic. Many insurance companies consider it "the same" as the pill (even though COME ON it's not) so they pass the additional cost on to you because their (crappy) argument is that you could be taking the pill, which is much cheaper. I'm encountering this problem in my patients as well - it's frustrating. I'm not sure if it will change with the law (I doubt it) - I'm waiting to find out.


Ironically, I work for the federal government and our health care plan isn't covering birth control until the last possible date (2013). Nice.


NYC peoples, favorite gynos? Or is PP really good? My gyno is ok but really inconvenient to get to. Suggestions?


@hijabeng What borough are you in?


@hijabeng Emily Hartzog, 5th Ave at 28th Street. Best!

Cassandra Koenig@facebook

Where can I get these nuvaring accessories?


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