Can I Get Birth Control at a Free Clinic? Will They Charge My Insurance?

If you're young, healthy and cash-poor, you may be thinking about forgoing health insurance for the time being. After all, health insurance premiums have risen by double or triple the rate of inflation for the past several years. Despite repeated attempts by healthcare professionals and lawmakers to rein in the expenses associated with certain medical procedures and consultations, this trend shows no sign of slowing or stopping. Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to obtain frequent medical care, you might think that you can afford to go without health insurance.

While this might technically be the case, there are plenty of reasons for young, healthy individuals to carry health insurance. If you're a female, you have a major additional incentive to sign up with an affordable provider: your prenatal health needs. Even if you're not planning on having a child, you'll need to attend to other aspects of your reproductive health. For instance, you'll need to procure birth control medication in a safe, legal manner.

This can be surprisingly difficult to do. Depending upon the laws in your local jurisdiction, you might not be able to procure birth control as a minor. Certain states require doctors and clinics to inform the parents of minors of requests for birth control medication. If you don't want your parents to find out that you're sexually active, your options for procuring this type of medication will be limited.

Your best option will be to find a "free" clinic in your area. In most cases, this will be a Planned Parenthood outpost. Although this organization may still be obligated to report minors who seek birth control, it periodically engages in legal battles to challenge these "reporting" statutes. As such, the outpost that you visit may keep your visit confidential.

In general, "free" clinics offer birth control medication at steeply discounted prices. For instance, you might only have to pay 25 percent of the total cost of your medication. Of course, these clinics are fully capable of billing your parents' insurance provider for this expense as well. However, your parents would surely find out about such a charge. As such, you'll need to pay your own way.

If you're not a minor, you don't have to worry about these reporting standards. With your confidentiality assured, you can visit any doctor or clinic and receive a legal prescription for birth control. However, such a visit could cost upwards of $200 in the absence of insurance coverage.

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