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7 types of birth control covered by insurance

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the birth control methods that are covered by insurance. We’ll look at both hormonal and non-hormonal options, as well as what options you have if you need birth control and don’t have insurance. Read on to learn more…

In the United States, most birth control methods are covered by insurance. There are exemptions but on the whole, you should be able to get birth control for free with insurance. This is due to the Affordable Care Act, which increased access to birth control methods and requires all insurance providers to cover the full cost of any birth control method that’s FDA Approved, Cleared, or Granted. 

It’s important to check your specific plan and consult with your provider to make sure you know your full list of contraceptive options.  Here’s a variety of methods that are frequently covered by insurance in the US today:

1.  Intrauterine devices

One of the most effective birth control methods out there, the intrauterine device or IUD, is a small T-shaped object that’s inserted in the vagina and sits in the uterus for as long as ten years! It’s more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and is known as a LARC (long-acting reversible contraception). 

You can get both hormonal and non-hormonal versions of the IUD, depending on your personal preferences, and your medical history. Both of these options are covered by most insurance plans. Learn more about the different types of IUDs to find out which is the better option for you! 

2. The implant

Like the IUD, the implant is a long-acting birth control method. It’s also more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and needs to be fitted and removed by a healthcare professional. The implant is usually inserted under the skin of the upper arm, where it slowly releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. 

The implant can be used as birth control for three to five years, and just like the IUD, once it’s inserted you don’t need to do anything to make it work! Keep in mind that all our bodies are different and some individuals may experience side effects from hormonal contraception such as the implant. 

3. Natural Cycles 

Next, let’s look at a hormone-free option. Natural Cycles is a temperature-based birth control method in the form of an app. It uses your daily temperature data to work out where you are in your cycle and whether or not you’re fertile that day. Since you’re only actually fertile for six days in any cycle, knowing when you can and cannot get pregnant can help you prevent pregnancy.

Natural Cycles is 93% effective with typical use and as an FDA Cleared birth control method,  it’s now covered by insurance! It’s free from side effects and can also help you plan pregnancy if you choose to start a family one day. Contact your provider directly, or read up on how to get Natural Cycles free with insurance to learn more. 

4. Birth control pills

Both the combined pill and the mini pill are covered by most insurance plans. The combined pill contains doses of the sex hormones estrogen and progestogen. Both versions of these hormonal contraceptives are 93% effective with typical use.

There are many different brands of birth control pills, containing different hormone dosages, so if you’re interested in using oral contraception, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider, to find the right option for you. It’s also worth noting that insurance coverage can depend on the brand.

5. Vaginal ring 

The vaginal ring or NuvaRing, is a small silicon hoop that contains a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestogen (similar to the combined pill). Unlike the pill, you don’t need to think about the ring every day. It’s usually inserted into the vagina, left in for 21 days, and then you take it out and have a 7-day break before inserting a new ring.  

The ring may be a good option for those who want to use a hormonal birth control method but don’t want to think about taking a pill every day and don’t want to use something as invasive or long-acting as an IUD or implant. NuVa Ring is 93% effective with typical use.

6. Sterilization  

If you’re looking for a more permanent way to prevent pregnancy, it’s good to be aware that female sterilization, also known as tubal ligation, is covered by most insurance plans. This is a fast medical procedure that cuts or ties the fallopian tubes, preventing egg cells from coming into contact with sperm cells

It’s worth saying that while this procedure is theoretically reversible, it’s not always successful. For this reason, it’s best to consider it only if you know you don’t want children or don’t want any more children in the future. Sterilization is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

While vasectomies (male sterilization) aren’t included in the list of birth control options that insurance providers must offer under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance providers will cover some or all of the cost of a vasectomy anyway. Check with your provider to find out more. 

7. Emergency birth control 

Accidents happen, so it’s important to be prepared and know your options should you need emergency birth control. Emergency birth control such as the morning-after pill is covered by most insurance providers. You can also use the copper IUD as emergency birth control if it's fitted within five days of unprotected sex. 

You need to act fast if using emergency birth control, making over-the-counter options like Plan B appealing. However, to get emergency birth control covered by insurance, you will need a prescription, so it’s best to contact a clinic such as Planned Parenthood as soon as you can after having unprotected sex. 

Are condoms covered by insurance?

Providers are not legally required to offer all over-the-counter methods such as condoms or spermicide. However, you can get condoms for free or at a reduced rate at family planning clinics, college health centers, or your doctor’s office. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) you can also use this to purchase condoms.

Is abortion covered by insurance?

This varies from plan to plan and from state to state, but strictly speaking, abortion is not covered by insurance. In some circumstances, your insurance provider may cover the cost of termination, such as if the procedure is medically necessary.

How to get birth control without insurance?

If you don’t have health insurance or don’t want to use it to access contraception, don’t worry, you’ve still got options. Through services like Planned Parenthood, you may qualify for low or no-cost care, meaning you can still access the birth control you need. Talk to your local clinic to find out more. 

If you have an FSA or HSA you can also use it to purchase certain contraceptive options such as condoms, spermicide, and Natural Cycles birth control without having to go through your healthcare provider. 

Thanks for reading up on the types of birth control covered by insurance! At Natural Cycles we’re committed to promoting contraceptive choice so you can find the right method for you. Thinking about switching to a hormone-free birth control method? Find out if Natural Cycles could work for you today! 

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Written By

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is an award-winning writer with more than five years’ experience covering reproductive topics ranging from birth control to planning pregnancy. She is passionate about providing women with accurate information grounded in science they can use to take charge of their own health - while also dispelling myths that exist within the field of women’s health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Ireland.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

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