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. This provision went into effect for new health plans starting on August 1, 2012 (or when the new plan year begins) so insurance companies are just starting to make these changes, and it is still unclear how EC will be covered. 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.
There are different brands of EC available in the US with different age restrictions and regulations, so buying EC can be confusing. Plan B One-Step is now available on the shelf with no age restriction, but you can't get a prescription for it. Next Choice One-Dose and My Way, which are one-pill generic versions of Plan B One-Step, will soon be available on the shelf too, but you need to be 17 or older, and you can't get it with a prescription. The only levonorgestrel EC that you can get with a prescription is the two-pill generic form, like Levonorgestrel Tablets, which are still available only from the pharmacist. ella is only available by prescription, and it is more effective; so if your insurance plan covers ella, this is probably your best choice.
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.