If you’re sexually active but don’t want to get pregnant, you’re in good company. Nearly all women use birth control at some point in their lives.
Being an educated consumer is part of your responsibility in caring for your reproductive health. But there are lots of birth control options on the market today. How do you evaluate which method is right for you?
Some questions probably come to mind: Is it safe? How effective is it? How much does it cost?
Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to choosing the best birth control for your health and lifestyle. Unfortunately, many women do struggle to afford it at some point. Here are a few tips to make birth control more affordable, regardless of which method you choose.
Order your birth control online
Regardless of how much they’re paying out of pocket for birth control, women also pay a second, intangible cost: their time. Traditionally, you had to see a doctor – usually your primary care provider or gynecologist – to get a birth control prescription.
Going to a doctor’s appointment is not a quick task. You might have to wait days or even weeks to be seen in the first place. Then, you spend several hours during the day traveling to your doctor’s office, waiting in the lobby, talking with your provider, and picking up your prescription at the pharmacy. As a wise woman once said: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
For many women, this arduous process often means taking time away from work and sacrificing valuable hours on the clock. If you can think of several better ways to spend that time, you’re not alone.
Here’s the thing: about 60% of reproductive-aged women are using some form of birth control. A contraceptive prescription is pretty straightforward and you probably don’t need to be seen in person to get one.
Today, you have many more flexible options. Innovative online birth control providers like Nurx can connect you with a healthcare provider to help you find the best birth control option for you.for a personalized consultation. If medically appropriate, the provider will write your prescription, and your birth control method is delivered to your door – pill, patch, ring, or shot.
Doesn’t that seem closer to how it should work?
Get birth control through your health insurance plan
The U.S. Census reports about 9 in 10 Americans have health insurance coverage. If you fall into this category, you might choose to go through insurance for your birth control.
Most insurance plans cover a variety of birth control methods at low cost or free to you. Health Insurance Marketplace plans cover all FDA-approved methods, such as:
- Birth control pills
- Vaginal rings
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
- Emergency contraception, like Plan B
- Barrier methods, like diaphragms
- Sterilization procedures
If your health insurance is sponsored by your employer, however, there may be some exceptions. For example, plans sponsored by religious employers aren’t required to cover any birth control methods. Ask your insurance provider or your employer whether your plan covers birth control.
Access community resources to help pay for birth control
If you can’t get free birth control through insurance and can’t afford to get it elsewhere, you still have options. You could qualify for assistance from Medicaid or other government programs to help you take control of your reproductive health.
Where should you start in tracking down these resources? Your local community health center exists to help community members like you! Start by reaching out to a health center, or if you feel more comfortable, a nonprofit organization like Planned Parenthood. Let them know that you’re uninsured and need help affording birth control.
Their experts will ask you a few questions and then direct you to resources and programs that can help. Many health centers and nonprofits focused on women’s health also provide contraception methods like condoms and spermicide for free – don’t hesitate to ask what’s available!
Save money by going generic
It’s no secret that choosing generics over name-brand prescriptions can save you about 85% of the cost for the same medication. They might differ in shape, size or packaging, but generic drugs are just as effective as their name-brand counterparts. They have the same active ingredients.
Many doctors will prescribe generics by default, but you shouldn’t assume yours will. When your provider writes you a birth control prescription, be sure to ask about generic options. If the particular hormone combination in your contraceptive pill isn’t available in generic, perhaps there’s a similar combination that would work just as well for you.
The only way to know for sure that you’re not paying too much for birth control is to have a conversation with your doctor.
Use prescription coupons to pay less for birth control
If you’re not averse to coupon-clipping, you can score some serious savings using prescription coupon cards. These companies, like GoodRx and SingleCare, make it easy for users to look up their prescriptions and find instant savings – for free.
Sound too good to be true? It’s legit, and the only cost to you is the time you spend searching for the best deal on your prescription, and the ads you’ll see while doing so.
Take control of your reproductive health
Ordering birth control online, going through insurance, choosing generics, and accessing community health resources are all effective ways to save money on your birth control. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which birth control method is right for you – and to do your research to ensure you’re not pa