Birth control pills for non-CU partner?
Originally Published: December 1, 1993 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: March 6, 2009
I'm a student at Columbia with the school's health insurance. I'm frustrated by the inability to get birth control pills for my domestic partner/girlfriend (I'm a male student). The school offers many types of birth control, but it seems impossible to get my girlfriend the pill. I'd like to be responsible for the choice we've made in birth control, and it is incredibly expensive to get the pill elsewhere (her job's insurance doesn't cover it). Do you have any suggestions? Won't it cost Columbia more if she becomes pregnant and we sign up for the school's insurance plan? I understand that female students of the school are able to get the pill. Why can't I make an appointment for her?
—Responsible and frustrated
Dear Responsible and frustrated,
With insurance coverage being as complex as it is these days your frustration is understandable. Hopefully some clarification will assist you and your girlfriend in accessing birth control.
In general, partners and spouses of
Columbia's on campus health services and student insurance plan are designed primarily for students; however students may add coverage for certain dependents. This won't necessarily solve your problem, because unless you are married, your girlfriend would not technically qualify as your dependent. Currently dependents of
- Your spouse
- Your same-sex domestic partner
- Your unmarried children under 19
- Newborn or newly adopted children
As a side note, if your girlfriend did become pregnant, and you wanted to add her to your student health insurance plan as a dependent, you would only be able to do so if you were legally married. But don't elope just yet! There are other options. Read on…
If your girlfriend does not have insurance through her employer, or works in a state that does not mandate contraceptive coverage, she may choose to visit Planned Parenthood or a community health clinic to access birth control and women's health services. Some Planned Parenthood centers and community clinics also participate in certain public insurance programs that provide health care coverage based on income, check with your local health center for more information.
Another effective contraceptive option, particularly if money is tight for you and your partner, is to use condoms (which, of course, have the added bonus of providing protection against sexually transmitted infections). At
It's admirable that you would like to take responsibility with your girlfriend for using birth control. While you may not be able to do this through
Best of luck!