College students paying more for birth control

Filed under: Your Pregnancy, Health & Safety: Babies, Day Care & Education

My daughter recently complained about an increase in the price of the birth control pills she purchases through her student health plan at college. Since complaining about money, or the lack of, is a favorite pastime of hers, I didn't give it much thought. But apparently she wasn't just trying to milk some extra money from mom; due to a change in the Medicaid rebate law, the incentive for drug companies to provide discounts to colleges has effectively disappeared. The American College of Health Association is supporting a proposed Medicaid rule change that would allow drug companies to continue to provide discounted drugs to college health centers, but for now prices for oral contraceptives are doubling and tripling. This has some worried that students will switch to less costly birth control methods or forgo them altogether.

According to the ACHA, about 39% of undergraduate women use oral contraceptives. Christy is one of these women and she is now paying over $20 a month for birth control pills, double what she used to pay. "It's a tremendous problem for our students because not every student has a platinum card," said Hugh Jessop, executive director of the health center at Indiana University.

Christy, as with most of her friends, works part time while attending school full-time. Her income, student loans and grants do not cover all of her expenses and I am obliged to make up the difference. But not all of her fellow-students have the advantage of parents who can supplement their income and may find themselves having to make a choice between birth control and books. Of course, eliminating sex and therefore the need for birth control, is one option. But knowing 20-somethings, I don't see that happening.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.