Access to contraception has been hotly debated topic ever since the Affordable Care Act passed. At Trinity, contraception is accessible and the process is confidential through Health Services.
“We keep a basket of condoms in our waiting room along with instructions on how to use them. We also have flavored condoms and oral dams, too,” said Jackie Bevilacqua, registered nurse and coordinator of Health Services.
STD awareness is also important to Health Services along with pregnancy prevention.
“We want students to always use a condom. Other forms of contraception will prevent pregnancy, but they are not very good at preventing STDs,” Bevilacqua said.
Female students have access to a wide variety of contraception from birth control pills to diaphragms. Janna Wilder, the university physician, can order contraception based on a student’s need.
“Birth control pills can be ordered by her Wilder. She can fit women for diaphragms if they prefer to use a form of birth control that doesn’t have any hormones. She also sometimes prescribes the NuvaRing if the patient prefers one that they don’t have to think about every day,” Bevilacqua said.
Health Services does not provide certain methods of birth control like IUDs or implants, but they can order other kinds of birth control in both generic and brand names of contraception.
In order to obtain contraception, the patient must first go see the university physician.
“They would have to see Dr. Wilder and depending on their age and their sexual history they maybe would or wouldn’t need to have STD testing and a Pap smear,” Bevilacqua said.
The well woman exam appointment revolves around many different health aspects including sexual health. The patients need to discuss the medication they may be currently taking if they want birth control so they know the benefits and side effects.
“They have to call ahead of time to make an appointments. We schedule those appointments for thirty minutes. The regular sick appointment is fifteen,” Bevilacqua said.
The thirty – minute appointment slots are limited to four per week. Currently, Health Services is booked this month for the thirty – minute appointments.
The appointments are confidential. Health services does not file insurance with the student’s health care provider.
For this reason, students still have to pay up front for medical care, “The student would have to file their own insurance. It’s fifteen dollars to see Dr. Wilder. You don’t file a claim for that. The students would have to take one of our bills and file with their insurance company to see if they would reimburse them, and there is no guarantee that they will,” Bevilacqua said.
“We don’t file any insurance in our office. If the student is insured by the student health plan they own their policy themselves. With the new Affordable Care Act, well- woman exams, contraceptive counseling and STD testing is covered with no co-pay for most students with their health insurance. It’s no cost to the students; it’s paid for by their insurance,” Bevilacqua said.
Laboratory testing for things like a Pap smear or STD testing can be billed to a student’s insurance company if it is a PPO and not an HMO insurance. People can contact their insure company for specifics. If the student does not want the insurance company billed then they can pay themselves. A Pap smear costs $15 and STD testing costs $30.
Last year, Health Services did 117 well-woman exams. The ability to easily access contraception is important to many women, especially on college campuses.
“I think it’s very important. College is a broad experience. You experience a lot of stuff, a lot different things in life, in relationships. Women are going to enjoy life in the same way any boy or man does. I think it is important to have that option in colleges,” said Dania E. Abreu-Torres, assistant professor of Spanish.
According to Bevilacqua, the only legislation that had an effect on access to birth control at private institutes like Trinity is the Affordable Care Act. It has a provision for a no-fee birth control pill. All insurance plans differ on the exact birth control pills they provide.
“Our student healthcare plan has an extensive list of birth control that are provided at no cost,” Bevilacqua said.
The policy on contraception of the Affordable Care Act mirrors what many women’s groups and organizations wanted.
“It applies everything we have been fighting for.Never the less during the last year, I would say last decade, most of the policies and most of the laws that we have been supporting and fighting for years have been diluted in some way. Girls find it so normal that they don’t think they need to continue to support it and continue fighting for it. Also different organization thinks it the opportunity to dilute that,” Abreu-Torres said.
Trinity students gain from the policies of Trinity Health Services and federal health care policies.
“It’s an important part of a woman’s body and life. If she doesn’t have access to it, there could be repercussions down the road she is not aware of. I firmly believe that every woman – this includes college females – should have access to the same health services. It also increases the likelihood that I will take care of myself after college,” said Ana Esparza, a sophomore.