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Questions and Answers

Can I Get the Pill at a University Health Clinic?

smiling internal condom birth control cartoon

Your university health clinic may not have birth control pills in the clinic itself. But, you can make an appointment with a doctor or nurse at the clinic and ask them to write you a prescription for the birth control pills. If your university has a sexual health website or education team, they can be a great place to go for more specific information.

What will the appointment be like?

If it’s your first time going on the birth control pill, the doctor or nurse will probably ask you some questions. These most often cover…

  • What kinds of sex you may have had
  • What other forms of birth control you’re using (like condoms)
  • Whether or not you smoke

They will also probably do some light physical examinations, like checking your blood pressure.

Health professionals ask these questions and do these examinations because hormonal birth control can affect your body in bunch of different ways, like raising your blood pressure. It’s important that you take the right kind of pills for your body.

How much does the appointment cost?

When you visit the clinic you should bring both your student ID card and any health card you have. Your provincial health insurance (RAMQ, OHIP, BC Care Card, Nova Scotia Health Card, etc.) will cover the cost of your appointment. If you’re an international student, you should check your coverage, which is most often with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

If you don’t have provincial health insurance the appointment can cost anywhere from $20-$70. The cost of the appointment is up to the doctor based on how complicated your visit is. Sometimes, any private insurance you have may cover some or all of the cost.

If you’re under 25, you can also visit Head & Hands. It’s a drop-in medical clinic open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You will not need a health card there.

How much does the pill cost?

The birth control pill can cost anywhere from $20-$50 a month depending on which kind you use. Some insurance covers birth control pills entirely, so you don’t pay anything. Others cover part of it, and some don’t cover it at all.

If you didn’t opt out of a student health plan, that may cover some of the cost. You can see what might be covered by typing in your student society at ihaveaplan.ca. If your school is not listed there, then you can get in touch with your student society to find out more.

If you have private or public insurance, you can check the website of your particular insurance to find out what is and isn’t covered. Some insurances cover prescriptions when you get them at the pharmacy. Others need you to pay upfront and send them the receipts to be reimbursed later. It’s a good idea to check which kind yours is before visiting the pharmacy.

Does my university provide other kinds of birth control?

Yes. They can write prescriptions for other options like the pill or the patch. Some clinics even offer IUDs after a couple appointments. You can talk about which option is right for you with the doctor.

If your school has sexual health services, they can provide you with more specific info on where to go to get different kinds of birth control near you.

More info:

  • Head & Hands Health Services

    Head & Hands is a health clinic for youth ages 12-25 near the Vendome metro station. They offer free, anonymous STD testing, even if you’re not covered by RAMQ. Head & Hands also has a lot of other services, including medical check ups, getting contraception, transitioning, and more.

    They offer a walk-in clinic on most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4:45pm. Everyone who comes in for the clinic is given a name card and entered into a draw. At 5:00pm, they draw 10 names to decide who sees the doctor.

    They recommend bringing your Medicare card if you have it, but you can still see someone if you don’t have it.

  • ihaveaplan.ca / studentcare.ca

    ihaveaplan.ca or studentcare.ca is a resource for students to check the health coverage provided to them by their university.

  • McGill Student Health Services

    A drop-in clinic for McGill students, offering STI testing, vaccines, PAP smears, treatment, and health consultation. Located on the 3rd floor of the Brown Buliding.

  • Concordia Student Health Services – SGW Campus

    For their students, Concordia offers many non-urgent health services including STI testing, contraception, gynecological exams, prescription renewals and vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.

  • Contraception – Sex & U

    All about contraception, aka birth control. Contains pages on emergency, hormonal, non-hormonal, and natural contraception.

  • The Pill: Risks and Side Effects – About.com

    About.com looks at the risks and side effects of the combination birth control pill, and who it might not be ideal for and why.

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