Birth control costs shoot up for US students

November 26th, 2007 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

One of the many healthcare issues we’ve found ourself addressing in GEO this semester has been the huge increase in costs of the contraceptive pill from the campus healthcare centre. A New York Times story explains the tortured legislative changes that led drug companies to end their discounts to student healthcare centres, as well as some good news about legislative moves to reverse the cost increases. It’s worrying to see mention that numbers on contraceptives have dropped as a result of the increase, but hardly surprising.

The information we (GEO) got at U of Illinois was that approximately 6,000 students are on the pill (out of a total of about 20,000) – and that’s just the ones who go through the student health centre. With a health insurance plan that doesn’t cover prescription drug costs (though we do now have a ‘discount card’ that gets us 15% off at many off-campus outlets) the drain of paying up to $50 a month in additional birth control costs is one that many students could do without – and that some students seem to have decided to actually do without.

Of course, birth control is just one of many healthcare woes facing grad students – from extortionate dependent healthcare costs to needed drugs that aren’t available (and are too expensive when they can be obtained). Still, here’s hoping that the legislative moves mentioned in the Times article take root, and the birth control discounts are re-established.

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