My Employer Shamed Me for Using Birth Control
For over a year, I had no problem getting my birth control pills covered. I went off of birth control to have a child—a beautiful baby girl. After she was born, I went back on the pill because my husband and I weren’t yet ready for another child.
You can imagine my surprise when my pharmacy told me out of the blue one day that my insurance company had denied coverage for my monthly prescription. Assuming it was just some sort of administrative error, I called my insurer. But there was no mistake—my employer had demanded that the insurance company refuse to cover birth control for employees unless they had a “prior authorization” from their OB-GYN. My doctor agreed to write a letter explaining that I needed birth control for contraceptive purposes. But according to the insurance company, family planning isn’t “medically necessary,” and the insurance company denied coverage again. I had to go back to my OB-GYN and ask her to tell the insurance company the second reason why I need birth control pills: to regulate my periods. My doctor did, and the authorization was ultimately accepted.
After the insurance company first denied me birth control, but before I learned that it was my employer who’d demanded they change their policies, I made an appointment with the university’s human resources director. I assumed it was a problem with the insurance company, and thought our HR director would want to know. Boy, was I wrong. The HR director told me that birth control is something the university should never be expected to cover, and that I should be more responsible for my reproduction and “proud” of my child. Using birth control is the responsible decision for me and my family, and I was outraged that he would suggest that my family planning decisions somehow called into question my love for my daughter.