How to Access Free or Low-Cost Birth Control

When it comes to birth control, there are many different options available to choose from – many of which you can get free or at a low cost.

First Thing’s First
If you are under your parents’ health insurance but don’t want your parents to know that you are on birth control, consider talking to your insurance provider and asking what privacy protections they can offer you. Check out this guide on getting privacy on your parents’ health insurance.

Where to Get Affordable Birth Control
You can start learning about free or low-cost birth control by talking to your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor or prefer getting birth control elsewhere, there are other resources where you can find and get low-cost birth control.

Without Health Insurance
If you decide not to go through your parent’s health insurance or don’t have health insurance, you can get birth control several different ways:

  • Over-the-counter: For condoms, dental dams, and spermicide, a prescription is not needed. You can pay for these birth control methods at a drugstore or gas station or go to a local family planning clinic, health center, or your Tribal clinic and get them for free. To save yourself time, call the facility and ask if they offer birth control free or low-cost.
  • Pharmacy: Some states allow pharmacists to write a prescription for the pill, the patch, or the ring after you answer a few health questions. This means you don’t have to worry about the cost of a doctor’s visit in addition to the cost of birth control.
  • Clinic: Your local health center or clinic, or Tribal clinic can possibly help you get birth control without insurance. Some clinics also offer financial assistance to those who qualify. If financial assistance is needed to access birth control, call or visit the clinic and ask for their financial assistance application. Most clinics have a coordinator who oversees financial assistance requests. Ask if you can speak with them for more help.
  • Planned Parenthood – Your local Planned Parenthood health center may have programs to help you get birth control for free or low-cost. Click here to find your nearest Planned Parenthood.
  • Online services: Different online services can send discreet, low-cost birth control directly to your home, such as:

Keep in mind that there are also coupons available that can help with the cost of birth control. GoodRx is a great source for these. All you have to do is go on GoodRx’s website and search for the brand of birth control you have been prescribed, and coupons will be provided to common pharmacies, like Costco, Target, and Walgreens. Your local pharmacy might also have coupons available. Be sure to ask!

With Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, the cost of your birth control should be partially or fully covered. The amount covered, however, varies by insurance plan. To learn how much your insurance covers different birth control methods, call the “For Members” number on the back of your insurance card or visit your insurance website to see how much your particular insurance plan will cover.

Medicaid – a type of health insurance available to low-income adults and children – covers birth control at no cost in most states. You can check if your state’s Medicaid program covers contraception by contacting the member services phone number on your eligibility letter or the back of your enrollment card. You can also call or visit your local Medicaid office. If your state Medicaid program covers birth control, the following will be paid for fully or partially:

If you have a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) insurance plan, know that most state’s CHIP plans cover birth control. To learn if your CHIP plan covers birth control, contact the member services number on the back of your card.

Also, most private (non-government) health insurance plans cover birth control. However, some plans may require you to pay some of the cost out of pocket. Check with your health insurance to find out if your birth control is covered for free. If it’s not, they can tell you how much it will cost.

The Bottom Line
Getting birth control doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. There are many free or low-cost birth control options available. It might just take a little research.

For more information about birth control, check out these resources:

Acknowledgment: This article was developed with research from Verywell Health, a reliable website that provides reliable, comprehensive, and easy-to-understand health information.

Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.

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