Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is your doctor answering your birth control questions?

When I first became sexually active, I had already learned about many of the different types of birth control in my high school health class. I went to my gynecologist to ask her about contraceptives, and the only one that I was presented with then was the pill. The rest were dismissed with a wave. Over the next few years, I remained on the pill, sometimes not getting the pack on time at school, or forgetting to take a pill or two. I’ve been fed up with a daily pill since I started taking them. While it may work for some people, it’s clear that it was not the best option for me.

I’ve always wished that I could get a different form of contraception. Now that I’ve been working at Planned Parenthood for a whopping two weeks, I’ve decided to go back to my gynecologist to discuss the options I've learned about. Hopefully, she’ll be more receptive to the idea of an IUD or Implanon .

I also hope that my insurance will cover it. My particular insurance company is very elusive when it comes to what it covers with respect to birth control and contraception. I’ve been looking online for answers to this issue, and can’t seem to find any answers. If my insurance doesn’t cover the more expensive forms, I’ll use more of the knowledge I’ve gained about family planning insurance from my short time at Planned Parenthood. There’s an option called the Family Planning Benefit Program which can cover teens and young adults, so that confidentiality is maintained, and nothing is sent home. Often, it covers young New York State residents fully over a few years. Planned Parenthood offers counseling and assistance in getting into this program, too, for those like me who are very confused by insurance and New York systems.

I know where my life will be if I don’t ask for a more permanent and less daily form of birth control, and I don’t like that reality. Even when patients do not mention an ad that they have seen or birth control education that they’ve received, doctors should be aware that information about birth control, other than the Pill, is in the patients’ heads, and pre-empt questions that the patients may have. Going over options on a personal level can make a huge difference in the decisions made about birth control. For tips and training on how to talk to patients about contraceptive options, check out the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. If you’re a patient, Planned Parenthood health centers can help fill you in on birth control and insurance options or call 1-866-600-6886 to learn more.

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