Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About...
How to Get Emergency Contraception
Are emergency contraceptive pills covered under the Affordable Care Act (health care reform)?
The new health care law requires insurance companies to cover the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods and to cover them without imposing extra charges, like co-pays (although there may be exceptions for certain types of organizations or corporations). This provision went into effect for new health plans starting on August 1, 2012. Your plan may not cover every brand of EC, or over-the-counter products. The best way to find out if EC is covered by your plan is to call your insurance company. The National Women’s Law Center provides a very helpful guide to what questions to ask your insurance company to understand your contraceptive coverage. Ask which brands of EC might be covered, and find out if your plan requires a prescription for insurance coverage. If your plan does not cover over-the-counter EC, you may want to get a prescription so that you will have coverage.
Regulations on the sale of EC have changed frequently, so it can be quite confusing. Below is some information about how the different brands of EC are sold. If you want to use ella, call the pharmacy first to be sure that it is in stock.
Progestin-only EC (like Plan B One-Step and its generic forms Take Action, Next Choice One Dose and My Way) are approved for unrestricted sale on store shelves. Even though the package directions for the generics say that it’s intended for use by women ages 17 and older, anyone can buy it without needing to show ID. Plan B One-Step usually costs about $40-$50, and the generics cost about $35-$45.
- If you want to use insurance to purchase EC, go to the pharmacy counter and ask for help.
- You can order a generic form of Plan B One-Step at www.afterpill.com for $20 + $5 shipping. This site does not offer expedited shipping, so it's not meant for emergency use, but you can stock up and keep it on hand for future use.
- ella is sold by prescription only, regardless of age. You can also order ella through an online prescription service for $59, including shipping.
If you need additional help in figuring out whether EC is covered by your insurance plan, or if you have trouble getting coverage without a co-pay, or if you have been refused EC by a pharmacist, you can get help from the National Women's Law Center contraception hotline at 1-866-PILL4US (1-866-745-5487) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the guidelines on the inclusion of contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act, click here. To read the Institute of Medicine report recommending the coverage of preventive services for women, click here.