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Future birth control guidelines will accommodate women who can’t pay


The amount of women each year that do not use contraception: 3 million; the percentage of unplanned pregnancies because of not using contraception: 47 percent; the amount of women who experience pregnancy loss through termination: 1.2 million, according to the American Pregnancy website.

Nurse, and associate director, Brigitte Stiles of Southern’s Health and Wellness Center, said for women who do practice preventative care to avoid pregnancy, lack of consistency with birth control is the most common mistake.

“I have considered not taking birth control, because I go through so much stress just to pay for the pills when I am using them for Family Planning, that sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it,” said senior and social worker, Mia Scafe.

Aug. 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines for birth control. Next year, Aug. 1, 2012, all private insurance plans will be required to cover women’s preventive services without a co-pay or deductible. This includes woman visits; screening for gestational diabetes, breast-feeding support, domestic violence screening and all FDA approved birth control methods. The new guidelines give religious institutions the flexibility to opt out.

One may question the reason most women aren’t consistent with their birth control. Is it because they can’t always afford it, or because they simply forget?

At the local Planned Parenthood in New Haven, the birth control shot costs between $110 and $175, emergency contraception (morning after pill) $35, and the birth control vaginal ring (NuvaRing) costs $30-$40.

For some women, Scafe, with no insurance, or insurance that does not cover birth control these cost can be expensive every month.

“My mother works for St. Francis religious Hospital as a visiting nurse because it is a religious hospital, they only offer coverage for pro-life services,” said Scafe. “Although my birth control isn’t for Family Planning, it is still seen as something against their policy so they won’t cover it.”

Stiles said there are other options available for women whose insurance don’t cover the cost such as community health centers, or Planned Parenthood that operate on a sliding scale. The sliding scale allows for Planned Parenthood to cover the cost of the birth control.

Nicole, a staff member from Planned Parenthood New Haven, described who qualifies for the sliding scale.

“While we don’t offer a sliding scale here in our office in New Haven, neighboring Planned Parenthoods do. Applicants must be on the poverty line,” said Nicole.

For some women, switching birth controls may be the only option, until the new legislation is in effect.

“I just got switched to a low cost birth control called Trisprintec, affordable enough for people who don’t have insurance, offered at Wal-Mart,” said Scafe.

Covering contraception helps the government save money up front. Unintended pregnancies accounted for more than $11 billion in costs, according to an analysis from the Guttmacher Institute, in 2006.

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