Can You Get Free Birth Control?


WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill

UPDATED: AUGUST 24, 2022 | 1 MIN READ

Birth control is a significant factor in women’s health. However, most sexually active women use a form of contraception at some point, and birth control can be expensive. If you use or plan to use birth control, the article below covers all you need to know about obtaining birth control for free, including how your health insurance coverage can help.

Can You Get Free Birth Control With Marketplace Health Insurance?

Plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover contraceptives for all women when prescribed by a health care provider. In addition, the plans cover these services without charging any coinsurance or copayment, even if you haven’t met your deductible.

Are insurance companies required to cover birth control?

Health insurance companies do cover birth control. Healthcare laws require insurance plans to cover birth control methods, but that doesn’t mean certain prescriptions fall under coverage. So, depending on the brand, you may find yourself paying out-of-pocket.

What type of contraceptives are covered by health insurance?

FDA-approved contraceptive methods are covered under the Affordable Care Act. You need a prescription from a doctor, and the types of contraceptives include:

  • Hormonal contraceptives, like birth control pills and vaginal rings
  • Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Barrier methods, including sponges and diaphragms
  • Emergency contraceptives, including Plan B® and ella®
  • Patient education and counseling

Plans aren’t required to cover abortions and services for male reproductive methods, like vasectomies.

What to do if you’re paying for your prescription but want free birth control

You have cost-free options for your contraceptives if you’re already paying. First, talk to your doctor about your prescription. In many cases, if it’s a particular brand you’re using and paying for, you may need to change to a generic or other covered brands to pay $0.

Birth Control Coverage Rules For Employer-Provided Health Plans

Health plans sponsored by certain religious employers such as a church or other house of worship don’t have to cover contraceptives. Other employers, such as family-owned businesses, aren’t required to cover birth control methods.

What to know if you work for a non-religious employer

There is ongoing litigation regarding a rollback in employer birth control coverage. Employers with any religious or moral objection can opt-out of coverage. 

However, you can take advantage of the “accommodation” rule issued by the Obama Administration. The rule allows your insurance company to cover your birth control rather than your employer.

What to know if you work for a religious employer

You may have to pay out-of-pocket costs if you work for an exempt religious employer and use contraceptives. 

Check with your employer or benefits administrator if you have questions or concerns.

Where Can You Get Free Birth Control Without Health Insurance?

If you do not have health insurance or pay for your specific birth control out-of-pocket, you can still find ways to lower costs. Choosing a generic prescription drug instead of a name brand one is the best way to obtain the same effectiveness at a much lower price. You may also consider getting your birth control prescription in bulk, allowing you to pay once rather than multiple times. 

How does Planned Parenthood work?

Planned Parenthood is an organization providing health care and education regarding sexual and reproductive health rights. Women can use Planned Parenthood for contraceptives and many other services, including cancer screenings and pregnancy-related assistance.

Does Medicaid cover birth control?

Medicaid can be billed and cover birth control methods. Coverage includes oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, vaginal rings, patches, injections, implants, and IUDs.

Can you use your HSA or FSA to pay for birth control?

You can easily save money to pay for your birth control in other ways. For example, setting aside a certain amount in your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to pay with pre-tax money.

FAQs

How much are birth control pills without insurance?

Birth control pills cost anywhere from $0 to $50 each month. However, they can be completely free with health insurance plans or government programs.

Can you get birth control pills over the counter?

Many birth control options are available over-the-counter (OTC), but you can’t get the birth control pills themselves without a prescription. Therefore, the only birth control pills over the counter available are for emergency contraception.

Can you get birth control pills without seeing a doctor?

You do not need a doctor’s visit to get birth control pills. Instead, you can speak to an online provider or health clinic like Planned Parenthood to obtain a prescription. For example, in California, women can talk directly to a pharmacist and fill out a form to get birth control pills.

Can you get birth control on your own?

In most states across the US, teens can get birth control without their parents’ permission. Instead, they can visit their nearest Planned Parenthood health center or their regular health care provider for a prescription.

How do you ask for birth control?

Make an appointment with your doctor or health clinic, or visit a local Planned Parenthood. Speak to a provider you trust to manage your birth control and have a discussion to determine the best contraceptive option for your needs. The conversation is easiest if you come to your appointment prepared.

Find Health Insurance Coverage That Offers Free Birth Control

Several birth control contraceptives are available at no cost to you. However, most health insurance plans must pay the total price of birth control. Contact your insurance provider or talk to your doctor or provider about available options. 

If you don’t have health insurance take some time to get free health insurance quotes today.