Letter to the Editor: Uncovered costs

In the wake of the recent controversy over the new mandatory Student Health Services visitation fee, students should be more attuned to their University health coverage. After a close analysis of the brochure for GW’s health insurance company, a GW law student discovered that oral contraceptives are not included under our health coverage, even with a prescription.

The policy states it will not cover “expenses incurred as a result of allergy shots and injections, preventative medicines, serums, vaccines and oral contraceptives.” Prescription drug benefits are included as “medical expenses for outpatient prescription drugs associated with a covered sickness or covered accident.” Ironically, pregnancy is considered a sickness but under GW’s plan, oral contraceptives are not listed as necessary drugs.

What does this all mean? Basically, female students pay over three times as much for their birth control pills and other oral contraceptives as they would be if GW covered these drugs. In addition, students who need these drugs for other reasons irrespective of contraception – for example, for irregular menstrual cycles, menorrhagia (excessive bleeding), or severe menstrual cramps – are denied coverage.

Contraception should be part of basic health care for women. GW claims to provide student-friendly insurance but clearly does not value the sexual health of college students. The fact that the GW administration uses an insurance company that omits this coverage sends a troubling message to the GW community: when it comes to contraception, you’re on your own.

-Susanna Coates

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