Sam Chavarría said her doctor was clear about the birth defects her medication could cause if she became pregnant but agreed to keep her on it as long as she had an IUD.
As she was waiting to get her contraceptive intrauterine device replaced at her local clinic, however, the billing nurse told her that her insurance wouldn’t cover the removal — or a new IUD. Chavarría didn’t understand why not.
“Then she said very delicately, ‘Well, people on this insurance typically tend to be older,’” Chavarría recalled.
Although Chavarría is 34, she is enrolled in Medicare, the government insurance program designed for those 65 and older. Chavarría, who lives in Houston, is disabled by fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and mental health issues. Anyone who has been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least two years is automatically enrolled in Medicare. This was Chavarria’s first IUD, and she had not received any Social Security benefits before.
Without insurance, just removing her expired IUD would cost Chavarría $350 out-of-pocket, exchanging it for a new one would be $2,000. She was in tears when she left the clinic.
Chavarría’s experience is not rare. Medicare was originally designed for those of retirement age. ,… have evolved over time.