Get a Lot More Expensive for IUD

IUDs are one of the most effective and low-maintenance types of birth control.

Alexandra Sifferlin Pratheek Rebala

October 19, 2017

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Should you use birth control pills, condoms or an intrauterine device (IUD)? Women choose their birth control based on many factors, like effectiveness or comfort—but cost has been less of a consideration, ever since the Affordable Care Act. A provision in the act required employers to provide contraception to all women in their health plans without charging a copay or coinsurance fee. Estimates suggest that more than 55 million women had access to birth control without co-pays because of the mandate.

Going forward, the price of birth control may matter more. On Oct. 6, President Donald Trump rolled back that coverage and issued a new rule that offers exemptions for any employer, regardless of industry, who objects to offering contraception coverage due to his or her personal religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Experts don’t yet know what effect the new rule will ultimately have on women’s ability to access birth control. But some worry that the IUD—one of the most effective and low-maintenance types of birth control—could become prohibitively expensive. Without insurance, it’s one of the priciest methods up front, costing about $900. And though an IUD may be a better financial investment over time, since women can use the device for several years, such a high initial price tag is beyond the means of many women.

Health care analytics company Amino analyzed billions of health insurance claims from 2014 to mid-2017 to understand how much an IUD could cost women if their insurance no longer covered it. They analyzed the Mirena and the Skyla IUD, which use the hormone progestin, and the ParaGard IUD, a non-hormonal copper-releasing device.

On average, an IUD could cost about $1,000 out of pocket across the country, the group reported. Below is an interactive map using data from Amino of what the typical cost of an IUD could be in each state. (The price estimates are for the total cost of an IUD, including the insertion procedure.)

As the data show, the lowest estimated cost is about $800. “[An IUD] is not cheap, and the median price is well outside affordability for many women,” says Sohan Murthy, a data scientist at Amino.