Like most questions concerning healthcare coverage, the answer to this is not a simple yes or no. If you’re looking to get your preferred method of birth control covered by insurance, you’re going to have to ask some questions and possibly engage in some comparison shopping to find a policy that offers the options you prefer. So let’s start by saying that certain companies and policies do provide coverage for some types of birth control and move on from there.
There are many medically prescribed contraceptives to consider. The most popular option for many couples is the birth control pill. There are many, many options available, including name brands and generic products. These are often partially or even fully covered by insurance, although the amount of coverage will depend on your insurance provider, the policy you hold, and the brand you purchase. If you are able to use a generic version of a name brand, you may receive better coverage, but this is not always the case. Your best bet is to speak with a representative from your insurance company to find out what is covered and what is not.
Other methods of birth control that may be covered by most insurance providers include diaphragms (although the spermicide you use with them will likely be an out-of-pocket expense), cervical caps, IUDs (like Mirena), implants (like Norplant), patches, and more. Because these products are not generally available over-the-counter and must be prescribed by a doctor, insurance will often cover part or all of the cost. But there is one other option to explore: permanent methods of birth control, or in other words, sterilization.
If you’ve decided that you don’t want to have children, there are a couple of sterilization methods to consider. The first and best option for many couples is male sterilization, or a vasectomy. This is an outpatient procedure, the risk is limited, recovery is swift, the cost is relatively low, and most insurance companies will cover all or a large part of the procedure. Female sterilization is also an option, and the first procedure to consider is tubal ligation.
Unfortunately, this procedure is invasive, costly, and rarely covered in full by health insurance policies, although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) does have provisions for contraception and sterilization. A final option is a hysterectomy. But this major surgery is generally not recommended for healthy women and is reserved for cases in which a woman’s health is somehow threatened.
Until you’re ready to start a family, the method of birth control you choose is up to you, and there are several options to consider. But if you want your preferred method of contraception covered by your health insurance, you’ll have to do some research to find out what your policy covers and whether or not you’d be better off switching to a different policy or provider, or alternately, choosing a form of birth control that is covered by your policy.