This Is the Best Way to Buy Birth Control

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Birth control is a fact of life these days, and it's helped people of all genders exercise agency over the careers, finances, and families they choose for themselves. Access to birth control, including the Pill, is part of normal health care for millions every day. There's a really simple way to make it more effective, though, and the change doesn't even involve any medical changes.

A new study into the way we dispense birth control has found that giving out the Pill in one- or three-month supplies can actually impede taking this medication on the daily schedule it requires. Something comes up, picking up the prescription becomes an inconvenience, and suddenly it's been 10 days since your last dose. Instead, the researchers recommend something a little more radical: giving out a year's supply all at once.

Insurance companies and some health care professionals worry that giving out more than 90 days of prescription medicine at a time will lead to medical and financial waste. However, this new study has found that in the case of oral contraceptives — which can have big consequences if a patient misses a dose or few — accessibility to a long-term supply increased consistent usage, leading to more reliable outcomes and increased health care savings.

If your state (or your insurance company) limits how much birth control you can take home at a time, you do have other options, including mail delivery of a prescription. Ultimately, this will be a policy discussion; contact your elected representatives if you have feelings about the issue.