Here’s What To Do If Your Birth Control Gets Crazy-Expensive

Photographed by Megan Madden.
Finding a hormonal birth control that works for your lifestyle is tricky. And then, once you figure that out, you have to get a grip on how your health insurance works, and how much you should be paying for your prescription. It can be overwhelming, particularly right now, when there's something about reproductive rights and health insurance in the news almost every other day.
If you have health insurance and take birth control pills, you've probably gotten used to a routine of going to the pharmacy and paying a certain amount (or nothing, if you're lucky) every single month. Or perhaps you use the mail-in pharmacy option through your health insurance company, which can make things even easier (most of the time), because the pills just magically arrive at your door in a bundle — like the stork, but different.
But, what if that setup suddenly changes, and when you go to the pharmacy, you're asked to pay a not-insignificant amount of money for your pills? You have every right to be confused and possibly angry, but that doesn't mean you should go ballistic on your pharmacist (it likely doesn't have to do with them). You just might have to do some detective work to figure out why the price was hiked, and if there's anything you can do to make your birth control more affordable again.
"If a person feels the cost of the prescription is too much or incorrect, they should not pay for the medication at the pharmacy until they get more information," says Jean Moon, PharmD, clinical pharmacist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Obviously, that's not always the best decision for you — birth control pills are less effective if you skip days, and since you don't know exactly how long it will take to sort out the issue, you might need to just pay up so you can get your pills in the meantime.
Before you call up your health insurance company and sit on the phone with a robot, these questions might help you sort out why the price of your birth control pills has changed.