10 WAYS TO SAVE ON YOUR BIRTH CONTROL
Money Saving Tips: Keeping yourself baby-free doesn’t have to break the bank
Some brands of the Pill can cost as much as $50 a month. What if you could throw that $600 into something way more fun this year?
A recent survey of more than a thousand women by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that many women are doing just that: Of those who switched their birth-control method in the past year, 14 percent did so in order to save cash.
Here’s how to save your dough.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a generic version of the Pill, or do some research by looking at an online drugstore. Generic drugs are much cheaper than their brand-name counterparts, and they have the same rate of efficacy.
For example, the price of Ortho Tri-Cyclen is $41.99 on the Walgreens website, but its generic equivalents, TriNessa and Sprintec, cost only $27.99—nearly 30 percent less.
“Generic drugs have the same makeup as brand-name drugs,” says Nancy Cossler, M.D. an ob-gyn at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “They’re all the same, so there’s no reason not to go generic.”
Be Straight with Your Doctor
Talk to your doc about your financial constraints. She’ll make sure to prescribe you a pill that has a generic version or talk to you about other cost-effective methods. Also, your doctor might have free samples available, but be warned: According to Cossler, drug companies only manufacture samples of brand-name pills like Yaz to fool you into getting a prescription for the expensive stuff once you do sign on. Make sure that when your doctor writes you a script, it’s for the generic version.
You scour supermarkets for the cheapest shampoo and the best deal on laundry detergent, so why shouldn’t you look for a bargain when filling your prescription? Call around and research your pill online to price your drug at the big pharmacies. Bonus: Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, and most of the others have prescription savings clubs. You can get a 90-day supply of the drug for $12 on some of the plans.
“There could be a very large variation in that cost, especially if you’re not on insurance. The variation can be as much as $100
a month from pharmacy to pharmacy,” says Scott Chudnoff, M.D. a gynecologist at Montefiore Centennial Women’s Center in the Bronx, New York.
Stick with Condoms
If you’re really pinching pennies, talk to your doctor about going off the Pill and protecting yourself with condoms. “If you’re not in a serious relationship and you’re going to have sex fewer than 10 times a month, it might be cheapest to go with condoms,” says Chudnoff.
Plus, since the Pill doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, you’ll want to use a condom anyway if you’re not in a monogamous relationship.
Make a Long-Term Investment
It’s a lot of cash up front, but the IUD is considered the cheapest form of birth control because it lasts the longest. Mirena (the hormonal type of IUD) lasts three to five years, and the copper IUD can last up to 10 years.
“From a purely financial point of view, the IUD is the best option,” says Chudnoff. “You can get one in the $300 to $400 range—and you might even be able to get it cheaper from different family-planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood.”
If you figure the average pack of pills costs around $10 a month, by the third year of your IUD, the cost has already balanced out.
Go Mail Order
Ask if your company has a long-term prescription plan, which allows you to mail order a 90-day supply of the pill for a lower co-pay. It also cuts down on trips to the pharmacy.
Ask for a Three-Month Prescription
Instead of going to your pharmacist and paying for a refill every month, see if your doctor will write you a prescription for three months at a time. “If your doctor will give you a three-month prescription, you might get away with paying only a single co-pay for it,” says Chudnoff.
Get Your Pills from Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood’s prices may be cheaper than the pharmacy’s--and you may even be able to get birth control for free. Check with them or a local family-planning service in your area.
Use Pretax Dollars for Birth Control
If you know you’ll be spending a given amount every year on your pills, and you have the option available with your company, put aside that amount in a health savings account so it is paid with pretax money.