College students across the country will soon pay higher prices for birth control on campus. There’s been a complex change in the Medicaid rebate law. There are no longer incentives for drug companies to offer student health centers birth control at discount prices. Western’s Health Services has been dealing with higher costs for a few years now.
We don’t even know what that cost is going to be at this point.
Due to the law change, many college women may now have to use off-campus pharmacies or their insurance. Plus, student’s who do not have insurance may be digging deeper into their pockets or seeking other alternatives.
This is going to impact them the most because they will have a lower rate of access to birth control options.
Steward said many students don’t want to use their insurance for birth control because they don’t want their parents to know they use it.
They were doing this as a safety thing, although using insurance for pharmaceuticals is not something they should be concerned about, they don’t send a report to parents if under the parent’s insurance.
Higher prices for birth control is nothing new to WKU’s campus. When Western failed to meet Title 10 regulations in 2001, it lost its discount prices on oral contraceptives.
WKU closed its pharmacy and became a pharmaceutical dispensary. This caused a significant drop in contraceptive sales, but Steward doesn’t think this is due to fewer students taking birth control pills.
“I don’t think we’ll see a decrease in usage, I think people just get used to the cost of things. I do think it’ll come as a hardship to some, pending their income and students do tend to be low-income,” Steward said.
WKU Health Services is waiting to hear from the pharmaceutical companies before it can determine its price increases.
The American College Health Association is lobbying for college health centers to be put on the law’s exemptions list.
Steward said there are other options for students who use birth control and don’t have insurance. One is to go to the health department where they can pay a sliding fee scale rate.