How to get free birth control
These options help ensure everyone can access safe and effective birth control, regardless of their financial situation.
Government assistance programs, like Medicaid, offer coverage for birth control methods to eligible people. Some health insurance providers also offer prescription assistance programs to help reduce the cost of birth control medications.
Read on to learn about 3 ways you can get free or low cost birth control.
1. Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization offering reproductive healthcare services, including birth control. It provides affordable options and sliding-scale fees for services based on your income.
It also offers online appointments and prescription services.
2. Government assistance programs
Government assistance programs, like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), may offer eligible people free or low cost birth control.
If you are not currently pregnant, you may be covered for services, including implants, IUDs, and other methods. Medicaid also covers family planning services for people who are not eligible for other health benefits.
3. Health insurance
Most health insurance plans in the United States are legally required to cover at least one form of birth control without cost sharing. This includes but is not limited to methods such as :
- the pill
- the patch
- vaginal rings
- intrauterine devices (IUDs)
However, the specific coverage may vary depending on the plan. Consider contacting your insurance provider or reviewing your coverage documents to learn more about the birth control options covered by your plan.
Types of birth control
Various birth control methods are available to suit different needs and preferences. Some common options include:
These methods physically block sperm from reaching the egg. They include:
- Condoms: These are a popular barrier method that creates a physical barrier between sperm and the cervix to help prevent fertilization. Examples include latex or polyurethane condoms.
- Diaphragm: A healthcare professional inserts this dome-shaped device into the vagina. It covers the cervix to help prevent sperm from entering the uterus.
These methods work by altering the typical hormonal balance in the body to prevent pregnancy. Examples of hormonal methods include:
- Combination oral birth control: Known as “the pill,” these contain estrogen and progestin hormones. They help prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. Examples include drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol (Yaz) and norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol (Microgestin).
- Progestin-only pills: Also called the “mini-pill,” they contain only progestin, which thickens cervical mucus and alters the uterine lining, making it less receptive to implantation. Examples include norethindrone (Camila).
- Contraceptive patch: For example, xulane (Ortho Evra) contains estrogen and progestin hormones, and you apply it to the skin once a week to help prevent pregnancy.
- Vaginal ring: Etonogestrel ethinyl estradiol (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring inserted into the vagina for 3 weeks, releasing estrogen and progestin.
- Birth control shot: This is an injection every 3 months to prevent ovulation. A common example is medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera).
If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.
Free prescription coupons
Seriously … free. Explore prices that beat the competition 70% of the time.Get free card
These are small T-shaped devices placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs, including:
- Hormonal IUDs: They release hormones to prevent pregnancy for several years. A common example is the levonorgestrel IUD (Mirena).
- Nonhormonal IUDs: They do not contain hormones but use copper to create an environment that is hostile to sperm. These include copper IUDs (ParaGard).
Implantable devices, such as etonogestrel (Nexplanon), are small, flexible rods containing progestin inserted under the upper arm’s skin, releasing hormones to help prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years.
There are several types of emergency contraception, including:
- Levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step): This is a high dose progestin pill that you can take within 72 hours of sex without a condom or other barrier method to help prevent pregnancy.
- Ulipristal acetate (Ella): You can take this prescription option up to 120 hours after sex without a condom or other barrier method to help prevent pregnancy.
Permanent methods (sterilization)
These options aim to achieve permanent sterilization. They include:
- Tubal ligation (female sterilization): This involves surgically blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes to prevent the egg from meeting sperm.
- Vasectomy (male sterilization): This surgical procedure cuts or seals the sperm duct, preventing sperm from reaching the semen.
You can speak with a healthcare professional to decide the most suitable option based on your specific needs, medical history, and preferences.
Having access to free birth control pills is an important part of reproductive healthcare. There are several ways you can get them without financial burden. Government-funded programs like Medicaid and various health insurance plans can also provide cost-free options.
By exploring these services, you can empower yourself with the knowledge and resources necessary to access free birth control pills and take charge of your reproductive health.
Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.
- Bansode OM. (2023). Contraception. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536949/
- Birth control. (2023). https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/birth-control
- Birth control. (n.d.). https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control
- Contraception. (2023). https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm
- Cooper DB, et al. (2022). Oral contraceptive pills. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430882/
- Lanzola EL, et al. (2023). Intrauterine device. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557403/
- Medicaid & CHIP. (n.d). https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/childrens-health-insurance-program/
- Progestin-only pills. (2023). https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/mmwr/spr/progestin.html
- Sathe A, et al. (2022). Medroxyprogesterone. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559192/