Today, as I do every three months, I went to my local pharmacy to pick up my birth control. As I walked up to the counter, I let out a sigh relief that I didn’t have to open my wallet to receive my chosen form of contraception. This is all thanks to the birth control benefit included in the Affordable Care Act, which designated birth control as preventive health care and made all FDA-approved contraceptives copay-free with insurance.
I am one of the more than 62.4 million women across the country who have access to copay-free birth control because of this benefit. But in October, President Trump rolled back this copay-free birth control coverage, immediately allowing any company or university to deny birth control coverage if it conflicts with “religious” or “moral” beliefs. While I don’t believe my employer will take away my birth control coverage, thousands of other women will not be so lucky. And President Trump’s actions could cost these women hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year — the cost of trying to have control over their own futures.
I started taking birth control nine years ago when I was a college student. College was a turning point in my life — I was investing in my future and excited for what it might hold. I wanted to put preventative measures in place that would allow me to concentrate on my education. Nine years later, my birth control has given me peace of mind to know that I have control over one part of my life. I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost 13 years and we’ve always known that we both have goals we want to achieve before taking the next step to have a family.
Trust me when I say that finding the best birth control for me wasn’t easy. Staying away from the pill (I knew I could not for the life of me remember to take a pill every day), I ultimately landed on the NuvaRing, which I’ve been using ever since.
Right now at 26, I’m able to focus on developing my career and saving for retirement. I’m building an “emergency” savings account to ensure I have funds available in case I lose my job or get sick. I want the peace of mind in knowing I won’t have to struggle to support myself.
Not only has having copay-free birth control allowed me to control my life, it’s helped my bank account. Over the last five years since the birth control benefit was put in place, I’ve saved almost $125 each month and nearly $1,000 in 2017 alone. I use what I’ve saved from birth control to increase my “emergency” fund, invest in my future, and expand my horizons through my favorite hobby: travel.
Without copay-free protection, the cost for my annual birth control is nearly equal to one month’s rent. My Nuvaring is the same cost as a monthly MetroCard that gets me to and from work. And for low income families, paying for birth control could mean skipping a meal here and there.
Why are we putting women and their families in the position to choose between two things they need to succeed?
Copay-free birth control should be a standard benefit for women across the country. It’s mind boggling that the Trump administration would create loopholes for any company to deny birth control coverage to their employees when contraception has been such an important benefit to our economy, our society, and our families.
Women should be making our own healthcare decisions. Not our bosses and not our government. That’s why I’m joining women across the country to stand against President Trump’s efforts to roll back women’s health. We will fight back.
Jaquii has joined forces with the Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign to get the word out about protecting access to copay-free birth control.