Where to get Nuva Ring cheaply?
I'd been concerned about the price of the ring and called a representative from my health insurance company to ask about it. The person with whom I spoke told me that because no generic version of Nuva Ring is available and because there are other brands that serve essentially the same function as Nuva Ring (e.g., HBC), they considered Nuva Ring to be a "non-formulatory" medication, which, according to my plan, means that they will pay 50% of the cost. From what I'd read here and on vaginapagina, I calculated that I'd probably have to pay $18-25 for each ring. Not fabulous, but manageable.
So. I got today to refill my prescription and to pick up my next ring. The pharmacy tech asks me, "Are you aware that this medication is not covered by your insurance?"
No. No, I wasn't. "That's not what my insurance provider told me, but I'll call them later." Whatever happens, I'd feel better taking this ring home now.
She rings it up, and the total comes to $51, more than twice what I'd estimated it would cost me. Naturally, I leave the pharmacy very, very pissed. I get home, toss my ring into the fridge, and call my insurance company again, this time to explain the situation. Turns out that they actually consider Nuva Ring a "lifestyle" medication, in other words -- paraphrasing their words -- one whose primary function is to maintain a certain lifestyle standard rather than to prevent or treat a medical condition. (Um, hi. Pregnancy = medical condition, right? Not to mention the other reasons for which one could be on HBC.) Other drugs & treatments in this category are Viagra (and other prescriptions to treat erectile dysfunction) and Botox injections. Now, I guess I can see a little of the logic of treating contraception as a "lifestyle" need rather than a medical one, though I still think it's mainly wrong, unfair, and more expensive for everyone in the long run, but I can't see the logic behind singling out Nuva Ring -- especially not when other brands of BC like Depo Provera, Seasonale, Ortho Evra, and Yaz are, to one degree or another, covered by the same prescription plan. Nuva Ring, however, is not covered at all.
Now, enough with my rant. The bottom line is that at this price, I cannot afford Nuva Ring. However, since it's pretty much the only contraceptive method besides FAM left available to me, I also cannot afford not to be on it. (The good news in all of that is that I'm not sexually active at the moment, but there is -- ahem! -- the distinct possibility of that changing in the next few months, hence the desire to have a contraceptive method in place.) I do not have access to a university health center, Planned Parenthood, or other low-cost health center that offers Nuva Ring. I can, however, transfer my prescription. ;)
So, especially for those of you who have to pay full cost for the ring, what are some ideas and/or locations for making this as affordable as possible?