Thursday, January 18, 2007

The birth control you won't see commercials for

So I saw a post about the cost of razors, and my mind jumped to another costly, yet rarely considered, expense. PF Ladies? Lend me your ears.

There's all kind of commercials for Nuvaring and Yaz and OrthoEvra, and they might be right for a lot of women, especially women who know that they may want to have a baby soon. But mostly, they're advertised because they're wildly profitable to sell. You think there's a lot of research going into longer-term BC? Hell no--why would they cut into their profit margin?

I've been on all three at various points, and when your insurance doesn't cover costs, it adds up quickly: $40/month for the patch, $25/month for the ring, $20 to $50/month for the Pill. And that's at Planned Parenthood: buying at pharmacies includes an extra markup for them to profit off your body as well. That's an average of $2,400 over five years. Not to mention the sanitary supplies and pain medications--few hundred bucks more. And frankly, I couldn't ever remember to take the dang pill e v e r y day.

You could be protected for about $350 for the same five years. Mirena, which I had installed in November, is five years of Guaranteed No Baby. Also, no period.

Okay, I seriously sound like a dippy commercial for it, and I don't mean to come across as a shill. But seriously, women who want to be frugal? An IUD is the way to go for massive savings in your 20s, when you know you're not going to be having babies. Or even if you don't want babies for just a couple of years--you can have them take it out whenever you want, and it's already paid for itself after about 9 months anyway.

Problem: a lot of doctors won't even install this for you (especially if you haven't already had a baby), so you might have to seek out a Planned Parenthood. (Which presumably you're already using for cost-effective women's health support--I love their sliding payment scale!)


Anonymous said...

Hey there,
I really like this post, since it's great to focus PF energy towards this topic. However, some of the reasons that many docs won't help 20-somethings get an IUD are medically sound. I really wanted to get one, but the more research I did, the more I was convinced that they really are a better deal for people who have already had a baby. There are lots of birth control options out there, and although I think that whatever works for you is great, no one should be making decisions about what method to use based solely on its cost. The real answer to all of this is that birth control methods should be covered by all insurance, so we shouldn't have to worry about costs.
Just my thoughts. Keep up the good work!

Ellen said...

What are the reasons, though? The fear of perforation? The risk that the uterus wouldn't be the right size? I couldn't get my doc to explain exactly why she wouldn't do it, and I couldn't find any clinical research to support her caution (though it's possible I don't have access to the right journals, I suppose), so I went ahead.

Thanks for your input, though. I'd love it if insurance covered birth control--that would be wonderful. It's horrible that some 70-year-old dude can get Viagra for a $5 copay but we have to pay out the nose for something so essential. *rages*