Is Birth Control Covered by Health Insurance?

What to know about coverage and contraceptives.

No matter where you stand on having children, your sexual health is important. Contraceptive methods like birth control pills and IUDs are often included in health insurance plans and accessible insured patients. Here’s what you need to know about getting the most out of your benefits.

Can An Insurance Company Cover Birth Control?

Yep. Many insurance plans cover prescription drug birth control methods with no copay or additional costs (even if you haven’t met your current deductible), including oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, female condoms (also called a vaginal ring), the patch, cervical caps, tubal ligation (also known as female sterilization) and emergency contraception, such as Ella or the copper IUD. (Note that Plan B and other generic versions of the morning-after pill do not require a prescription, as you can get it over the counter. However, under the Affordable Care Act, if you obtain a prescription, most plans will still cover it. You can receive a prescription from your nurse or doctor and can also check with a local Planned Parenthood health center for more assistance.)

As with other types of medication, certain brands of birth control may be included in a cost-sharing program where your plan only pays a portion of the total, meaning an additional pocket cost would be expected. You can discuss options with your insurance provider beforehand to see if your preferred method is fully or partially covered; they can also help you choose a free birth control option under your plan. Alternatively, if your health care provider is recommending a specific method, they can often tell you what plans cover the brand you need.

It’s important to note that over-the-counter types of birth control are not required to fall under contraceptive coverage. This includes non-prescription options like traditional condoms and spermicide. Plans are also not required to cover vasectomies, though some may.

For Medicaid patients, family planning services are more limited for birth control coverage, but there are still options. You can learn more and check your eligibility at healthcare.gov.

What is The Cost of Birth Control with Insurance?

With most health coverage plans, a one-month supply of birth control pills is completely free, though it may vary under certain government programs and Medicaid. The average rate per prescription is anywhere from $0-$50 for most brands.

Another potential cost to factor in is a trip to see a doctor to receive the prescription needed for birth control, but thanks to Obamacare, the majority of insurance plans will cover an appointment with a doctor to obtain contraception. If you’re concerned about cost or are not insured, there are many online options that do not require an in-person visit to receive a prescription and offer birth control at low rates. You can even have your birth control shipped right to your door—easy peasy! Check out the Planned Parenthood Direct app or websites like thepillclub.com or goodrx.com to see if you qualify.

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