This health unit is charging teens for birth control, and some worry it’s causing a barrier – CBC

Ontario has been providing free prescription medication for people under 25 since 2018

Dec 21, 2022

A young teenage girl in Chatham-Kent approached the health unit for birth control and left empty-handed because she couldn’t afford to pay for it.

She recalls CK Public Health asking if she had access to private insurance, but said she didn’t want her parents to know she planned on being sexually active. Then, she said, a nurse told her over the phone it would cost $10 per pack, something she couldn’t afford without a job.

As of January 1, 2018, the Ontario government began covering the cost of prescription medications, including birth control, for anyone under the age of 25. But CK Public Health, unlike surrounding health units in Windsor-Essex and Sarnia, is charging high schoolers $10 for them. Now the girl is one of several people wondering why there’s a fee at all.

“It made me feel kind of worried. To learn that we had to pay was really surprising … because we’re teenagers and sexual health is important,” said the girl, who CBC News is not identifying because of her age.

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