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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Birth Control Coverage: FAQ

You might have heard that birth control may be free as part of health reform. Is your type covered? What about condoms? Are there any exceptions?

Here are answers to those and other common questions about birth control coverage as part of health reform.

Will my birth control be free under the Affordable Care Act?

Yes, if you are:

  • A woman who bought your health plan through your employer, through your state marketplace, or from another private company
  • You have a prescription for an FDA-approved birth control method

Which types of birth control are free?

Birth control methods that are covered by the Affordable Care Act include:

  • Birth control patch
  • Birth control pills
  • Birth control ring (NuvaRing)
  • Birth control shot (Depo-Provera)
  • Cervical cap
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Diaphragm
  • IUD
  • Permanent contraception methods, such as tubal ligation, often called "getting your tubes tied"

Will I still need a prescription?

Yes, you will still need a prescription for any contraceptives that require a prescription now.

Will my doctor exam also be free if I get a birth control prescription at that appointment?

Yes. Your well-woman visits are free under the Affordable Care Act. During this visit, your doctor can tell you about the types of birth control and can write you a prescription.

Will my insurance cover the cost of over-the-counter female birth control methods?

Only if you have a prescription for them. Over-the-counter birth control for women includes sponges, the female condom, and spermicides. These methods are covered as part of health reform if you buy them with a prescription.

You'll still be able to buy them without a prescription -- they just won't be free. If you want them for free, you may ask your doctor to write you a prescription for them.

Where do I need to buy my birth control for it to be covered?

You don't have to change how or where you get it. You can get your birth control where you usually buy it: at your local pharmacy with a doctor's prescription, or through a mail order or online pharmacy.

Does the plan cover any other types of birth control services?

Yes. You also can get free contraceptive counseling from your doctor under the plan, which includes information on:

  • The types of birth control that are available
  • How these methods work to prevent a pregnancy
  • Which type of birth control might be best for you

When does this new coverage start?

All new private health insurance plans began paying the cost of covered birth control methods on Aug. 1, 2012. Most health insurance plans that existed before health reform became law will start covering birth control by 2014.

Can I get brand-name birth control pills?

If a generic version exists you can get that for free, but you may have a copay if you want the brand name. 

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