Today (August 1) is a big day–it’s not just a Chick-Fil-A protest day, but it’s also being touted as Free Birth Control Day and No Copay Day. Does that mean you can waltz up to the CVS counter and just demand your free Yaz?
Not quite. Free Birth Control Day actually doesn’t apply to most people–at least not yet–but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get free birth control later on.
Here’s how it works: If you have private insurance (the kind you or your parents get from their jobs, or that you buy yourself), you’ll likely be affected, but it probably won’t happen right away. If you or your family use Medicaid, there’s a chance you may get free birth control, but only if your particular state OKs it.
Another thing that may determine whether or not you’re eligible for free birth control is when you or your parents got your insurance plan. If your insurance started before August 1, you may not be eligible for free birth control until next year, though some insurers are offering free birth control ASAP. You’ll have to check with your parents or your insurance provider to be sure for each case.
One more potential snag to free birth control? Your or your parents’ employer. If you or your parents work for a religious organization that doesn’t support contraception, your free birth control may not actually be free until next year, even if its prescribed for a medical reason.
That said, most of these obstacles will be gone next year, which will enable women to get free birth control, including pills (mostly generic brands, but let’s be real, the ingredients are usually identical) and sterilization. Not only will you get free birth control, but you’ll also be eligible for a free annual exam, HPV testing, gestational diabetes testing (if you’re preggers), STD and HIV screening and counseling, breast pumps (if you’re preggers or a mom) and domestic violence counseling. Not a bad deal, right?
To be clear, you still need a prescription for your free birth control, and to be on the safe side, when you go to make a doctor’s appointment for your free services, specify that you are coming just for services covered by the Affordable Care Act–or else you may get an unpleasant surprise later on when your bill comes.
Are you happy that you can get free birth control now? When are you eligible for free birth control? Do you think religious organizations should influence your ability to get free birth control, even if it’s for a medical reason? Tell us in the comments!