Ladies (and gents), we know that birth control is an important part of daily life for many of you. Did you know that most birth control is 100% covered under the ACA (Obamacare) compliant plans? We compiled a list of some of your top birth control questions and listed some cool companies that are disrupting the current birth control game - check them out!
Let’s start with the basics…what kinds of birth control are available?
We’ve listed some options below, but love the Bedsider’s interactive method explorer! It lists all the different types of birth control including details, costs, side effects, effectiveness, and more!
FDA approved contraceptive methods covered under the ACA:
Barrier methods, like diaphragms and sponges
Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings
Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
Emergency contraception, like Plan B® and ella®
Patient education and counseling
Other methods, sometimes not covered at 100%:
Birth control for men, including condoms and vasectomies
Ovulation tracking methods, such as Natural Cycles
What is the cheapest way to get on birth control or switch to a new kind WITH insurance?
Call your insurance company and ask for their prescription drug list. This list will show which contraceptives are covered at 100% and which require cost-sharing (aka you pay for a percentage of it).
What is the cheapest way to get on birth control or switch to a new kind WITHOUT insurance?
Check out your local college or health department for free condoms, or use this interactive condom map that shows where you can find free condoms in your area.
Call your local health department. Many offer free or very low cost birth control of all kinds. For example, the Georgia Department of Public Health offers birth control (including IUDs, Implants, Emergency Contraceptives, and the Pill) for free for those ages 19 and younger, and at a low cost for those 20 and older.
Check out the list of companies that offer cheap birth control we’ve listed in the next section.
Why does my birth control cost something when everyone says it is free now?
Your prescription might be in a tier above the prescriptions that your insurance covers at 100%. Note: Prescriptions (including birth control prescriptions) are categorized by your insurer into different tiers. Typically, the lower the tier, the less expensive the prescription.
Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, Obamacare) compliant plans cover most methods of birth control at 100%. If you are being charged, you may have a brand that is considered a tier higher than the options that are covered at 100%. Prescription drug lists provided by your insurance company usually detail which brands of birth control are considered covered at 100% or which have cost sharing. Call your insurance company to get a list for your plan, and take it to your next doctor’s visit to discuss the pros and cons of switching to one that is covered at 100%.
Your employer has a religious exemption
Some religious employer plans (usually churches) have an exemption and do not have to cover contraceptive methods and counseling.
What about the online companies with websites or apps that ship your birth control to you?
There are several new companies that make getting birth control convenient and cheap with or without insurance. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below:
Nurx (pronounced “New Rx”)
What it is: Nurx is self-described as “a hassle-free way to get birth control and PrEP delivered to you.” They have a medical team of MDs, FNPs, and PAs who review your medical history, write prescriptions for the brand of birth control you select, and then ship your prescription.
How it Works: Each user is required to fill out a health assessment that will be reviewed by a practitioner in your state, they will then ship your prescription within 5-10 business days. Nurx also automatically refills and ship future orders. If you aren’t sure of what prescription you would like, Nurx lets you consult with a doctor to get their recommendation.
Cost to Me: You pay for the birth control (which can oftentimes be free depending on the type!) If you don’t have insurance, they can work with you to make sure your birth control fits into your budget. FYI: According to their co-founder, Nurx makes money by “charging insurance companies for e-consultations and drugs that are shipped out.”
What Else To Know: Nurx’s telemedicine service is currently available to residents in CA, NY, DC, WA, IL, PA, VA, FL, IN, MI, MA, MN, NJ, MO, NC, OH, CO, and TX ( updated 1/1/2019). To learn more, check out their website or contact their support number.
What is it: The Pill Club is self described as “a birth control telemedicine provider and a medication delivery service”. Each package of birth control also comes with fun goodies like chocolate, art prints, samples, and more.
How it Works: First, create an account with The Pill Club. Once you are registered, they can either help prescribe you a new birth control (if you are in one of their qualified states) or refill your prescription.
Cost to Me: The cost of the medication (which again, with insurance, can be free!). Delivery is free, along with the added goodies they send in each package.
What Else to Know: The Pill Club offers prescriptions for the following states (updated: 1/1/2019): AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, ME, MO, MI, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, and WY. Additionally, The Pill Club offers emergency contraceptives that you can keep to use at a later date and you can also text their patient care coordinators and licensed medical providers with questions or to change your shipment delivery.
How it Works: You fill out an online health questionnaire, then a nurse or doctor immediately calls you to do a video consultation. They write the electronic prescription, then you choose to have them deliver the medicine or send the prescription to your local pharmacy (make sure it is in-network!).
Cost to Me: The video consultations are $25, paid within the app. If they determine that you don’t need a prescription during the video consultation, they will refund you the $25.
What Else to Know: While the prescriptions are likely to be covered by your insurance if you get them from an in-network pharmacy, the virtual office visit is not covered by insurance, but is equivalent to the price of most copays. The service is available in 40 states - check out their website to see if your state qualifies.
What is It: HERS offers generic birth control pills at a flat rate of $30 per month and they come in trendy, HER-branded packaging.
How it Works: HERS will refill a generic prescription (check here to see which prescriptions they offer) or prescribe you a prescription if you are in one of their qualifying states.
Cost to Me: $30 - this includes the prescription and all other fees.
What Else to Know: HERS does not accept insurance. While we love seeing companies making birth control more accessible to women, this is likely one of the more expensive options for those with insurance.