Ladies, listen up, starting April 1, all prescription contraceptives will be made free in British Columbia. According to the new provincial budget released on Feb. 28, $119 million in funding will be allocated to this expense. It was announced by Finance Minister Katrine Conroy. That is a huge move in healthcare.
The free contraceptives will include contraceptive injections, both hormonal and copper IUDs, most oral hormone pills, subdermal implants, and Plan B, the morning-after pill. Unfortunately, as of right now, vaginal rings and transdermal patches are not covered, but the Ministry of Health may eventually look at getting those products covered as well.
It is estimated that someone who spends $25 a month for the hormonal pills could save up to $300 a year and up to $10,000 in their lifetime. That is not a small amount of money, and could make a big difference for a lot of people.
This is a big step forward in both sexual and reproductive health care. To be able to access the free contraceptives, one must either be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada as well as be covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP). In simpler terms one needs to be covered under health insurance. Once they have a prescription from a family physician, that prescription can be taken to a pharmacist along with the individual’s MSP card to fill the prescription.
So keep a reminder in your calendar to refill any prescriptions you might have for April 1! For further information, check out the Government of British Columbia’s statement on free prescription contraceptives here.