“Obamacare”, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to cover the full range of birth control methods from pills, patches and rings to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like implants and IUDs — all without co-pays and deductibles. The ACA also covers contraceptive doctor’s visits without charge, including LARC insertion and removal. Pre-ACA, insurance companies often required hefty co-pays for both methods and visits, forced women to “fail” at one method before allowing them to switch or refused to cover certain methods altogether.

Women’s needs

Demand has spiked since the election for LARCs, which can be kept in place from three to 12 years, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and, once inserted, work automatically without having to regularly fill a prescription or take a daily pill. Not surprisingly, many women love their LARC.

Other women, however, suffer from side effects or simply decide they’re ready to become pregnant. For these women, it can come as an expensive shock if they need their LARC removed and no longer have insurance. Without the ACA, they may find their insurance no longer covers removal.

The National Women’s Health Network works to ensure that people have good information and real access to the full range of methods. In partnership with SisterSong: National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, we crafted a statement of principles that rejects reproductive coercion in any form and recognizes the many factors women weigh in deciding which method is right for them.

"The National Women’s Health Network works to ensure that people have good information and real access to the full range of methods."

Thinking ahead

So what can you do? Before your appointment, think through what matters most to you in a contraceptive method:

Do you want a method you can ‘set and forget’ or one you can start and stop on your own without returning to the doctor? A method that almost never fails or one that leaves open the possibility of pregnancy? Do you want to have a monthly cycle? Do you need a method that can be kept private? Do you have health insurance; are you at risk of losing it? What are the side effects of each method and how might they impact your quality of life?

Each person will weigh these choices a little differently. How you answer will help you navigate the challenges that lie ahead.