The Quest for Free Birth Control

Like many women out there, I was under the impression that once the birth control mandate went into effect, Obama was going to show up at my door every month with a pack of free birth control and a bouquet of roses.  BUT OH HOW WRONG I WAS.

When I first found out that there was still a high copay on my birth control, I poked around on the internet.  Full disclosure: I know nothing about health insurance.  I am lucky enough to still be on my parents’ plan.  I found that the free birth control thing only applied to plans that were formed or renewed after August 1, 2012.  I asked my mother and discovered that my plan didn’t renew until the first of the new year, so I stopped worrying.

Today, I went in to ask about getting a refill, and was told that this month’s supply would cost the same as last month’s.  I accepted this.  My birth control is called Generess Fe, which I had assumed was the generic brand, as my OBGYN gave it to me alongside some LoLoestrin Fe, which I assumed was the non-generic, though I noticed some differences between them (LoLoestrin has two different types of pills plus the reminder pills, while Generess just has the one type plus the reminder.  Also, Generess is chewable.).  I really like it.  It’s a good one.

I went home and once again attempted to find a website that could explain to me why I couldn’t get this pill copay-free, and I found this very helpful graphic:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/can-you-get-copay-free-birth-control

According to that graphic, I should be able to get this for free.

So my mother and I called the insurance company.  He said that Generess Fe is not on the list of things that are covered through our plan, and said he’d email us the list.  He never did, but I eventually managed to find it on the insurance website.  He’s right, Generess Fe is not on the list, but Norethindrone-Ethinyl Estradiol, which is the main drug of Generess Fe (minus the iron).  My mom decided that Generess Fe must not be the generic, so I called up CVS to request the generic, and had the following conversation:

Me: Hi, I was in there a couple hours ago to renew a prescription, and I’d like to switch to the generic.
Pharmacist: (after getting my information)  That is the generic.
Me: Okay, well, I was just on the phone with the health insurance company, and according to this list, a form of that drug should be covered under Obamacare.
Pharmacist: It is covered, it’s just a high copay.
Me: Yeah, I should be able to get it with no copay.
Pharmacist: I don’t understand what you want.  As far as I’m aware, the Obama health insurance didn’t actually have an effect on any of this.
Me: Actually, the birth control mandate went into effect on August 1st for new plans, and since my insurance plan renewed at the beginning of the year, I should be able to get this for free.
Pharmacist: It is covered, though.  This went through your insurance.  There’s a difference between “covered” and “copay”.

I didn’t like the way he was talking to me, so I said “uh huh” a lot until he hung up.  My mom and I called the insurance company again.

Insurance Lady: Generess Fe isn’t the generic.
My Mom: Then what is?
Lady: There is no generic equivalent.
Mom: Okay, but Norethindrone-Ethinyl Estradiol is on your list.
Lady: But Generess Fe isn’t.
Mom: Right.  So how do we get Norethindrone-Ethinyl Estradiol?
Lady: There is no generic for Generess Fe.
Mom: …then why is the generic name for it on your list?
Lady: Let me pull up the list.  Okay, Norethindrone-Ethinyl Estradiol isn’t all of Generess Fe.  You’d need a new prescription.
Mom: Then let’s do that.

Of course, all of this took about half an hour, and by the time I looked up the OBGYN’s number, I discovered that they close early on Fridays, so I was 15 minutes too late.  They’re gone until Monday, and I told CVS I’d pick up the Generess Fe tomorrow, so my mom wanted to cancel the refill until we talk to the doctor.  I made her call CVS back, because I did not want to talk to that pharmacist.  He apparently gave her a hard time about it.

So, I’ll resume this saga on Monday.  Allow me to sum up by saying: this is ridiculous.  I have yet to hear of anyone who has successfully gotten an oral contraceptive with no copay.  What the fuck.

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11 comments on “The Quest for Free Birth Control

  1. Amanda Bird says:

    UGH. I know your pain. This is SO Frustrating. My copay has actually gone UP $20 in the past two months. Even with Generess’ coupon. Apparently it only pays $40, instead of the $50 it’s supposed to. Does anyone know how this is possible? And how to fix it?

  2. Jasmine says:

    I’ve been on generess fe for over 2 years and I asked all my friend how much they pay for birth control and some said less than $10 and most of them said for free. Why can’t we get generess fe for free? This is ridiculous. Having to pay $300 a year. Does anyone know a different kind of birth control that’s like generess fe. I don’t want to gain weight and I don’t want acne again either

  3. Victoria says:

    Idk what kind of insurance you have but I have always gotten generess fe free… They only give one refill a month but I have never been charged

  4. Melissa says:

    I pay $200 for Generess FE every three months WITH full insurance. It’s goddamn ridiculous.

  5. Stina says:

    Costs more than that a year to raise a child. Gotta pay to play! Pay the copays people and quit complaining.

    • Rhiannon says:

      There’s no need to be that rude. I used to take generess fe and it was not to “play”. I have endometriosis and the birth control gave me lighter periods with much less cramps. Before making ignorant comments, think of all the reasons people use birth control instead of just sex.

  6. Paige says:

    I went to refill Generess Fe this morning and the co-pay is $50 with Cigna Insurance. It used to be free with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. It there is a generic version, I will have the ob-gyn phone it in. I, too, thought that Obama Care would cover this. I want to place blame but who do I blame, the drug companies, insurance companies or government? Can s/o explain?

  7. I have Aetna and pay $50 a month. I was just looking for a coupon but the $25 a month through the manufacturer must be over.

  8. Cris says:

    I just went to my CVS earlier and for the first time did not have to pay a copay at all! I also have the generess fe and have been on it for a long time, paying $25 then going up to $75 this year when their savings card expired. They gave me the generic of the brand.

  9. Marissa says:

    I have to pay $100 a month. I was told this WAS the generic. Why is this so god damn difficult? I just want some birth control.

  10. Gwengaroo says:

    Old thread i know, but now there IS a generic!!! got it this month!

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