Talking to Your Employer About Birth Control Coverage
We're here with tips to make speaking up a little less awkward.
As you may have read elsewhere on this site, The Right Time health centers offer free or low-cost birth control to those who need it. The providers at each and every one of The Right Time’s 14 health centers in 33 locations across Missouri are there to provide you with quality contraceptive services. No insurance? No problem. Birth control is available to all through The Right Time.
If you do have insurance, you may know that in 2017, the Trump Administration issued two new rules that allow employers to opt-out of covering birth control based on religious or moral objections. You might also know that on July 8, 2020, the Supreme Court decided those rules could stand. This put many people at risk of losing access to no co-pay birth control coverage. If you’re worried about losing your birth control coverage, and you want to have a conversation about it, here are some tips for talking to your employer.
But remember: no matter what, you do not have to go without contraception. If it turns out your employer won’t cover birth control (or won’t cover your preferred method), your nearest The Right Time health center is there to help by offering you free or low-cost access to all the methods of birth control.
1. Start with your coworkers.
Are your coworkers concerned about the birth control rules too? If so, you can draft a formal letter and have your coworkers sign it. If you don’t have anyone in your workplace willing to speak up, don’t freak out. Your voice is still important.
2. Schedule a meeting with the right person.
It’s tempting to think you can storm into your boss’s office or stop them in the hall for a chat, but serious concerns require your employer’s full attention. Schedule a time to meet with your supervisor. In larger companies, your human resources department might be the best place to start the conversation about health care coverage.
3. Write down talking points.
You care deeply about accessible birth control, but your employer might not know a lot about the issue. That’s why you’ll want to educate them on why birth control access is important. Here are some talking points we love:
- 99% of U.S. women have used birth control at some point in their lives.
- The National Business Group on Health recommends employers offer services to promote family planning (that includes all FDA approved methods). Why? Because there’s evidence that birth control coverage saves companies money.
- While the reasons shouldn’t matter, your boss might want to know that over 30% of birth control prescribed in the United States is used for non-contraceptive reasons such as endometriosis, PCOS, and Fibroids. If you feel comfortable, you can share your personal reasons for wanting birth control coverage.
4. Plan for next steps.
- If your employer is getting rid of coverage: make sure to remind them that they must inform all employees in writing. And remember, you can still get access to all the methods of birth control for free or at a low-cost at your nearest The Right Time health center.
- If your employer is keeping coverage: thank them and ask them to notify other employees as a courtesy (they aren’t required to, but it would be nice). If it turns out that your preferred method is still too expensive (even with your insurance), you can get it for free-or at a low cost at your nearest The Right Time health center.
Taking steps to approach your employer is huge, and it will help clear up confusions for other people in your office who might also be concerned.
Updated October 2021
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