IUDs Can Be Expensive-Here's How to Make Them More Affordable
"It's more effective than tying your tubes," says Sophia Yen, MD, CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, a women-founded and led birth control delivery service.
But these small, T-shaped devices can be costly. Without insurance, the total cost of an IUD can be close to $2,000-that's including the price of the device, consultation appointment, and insertion. However, since IUDs can last three to 12 years, they still might be your most cost-effective option in the long run. After all, birth control pills can cost an average of $226 per year with insurance, and $268 without, according to recent numbers by GoodRx.
Here's a breakdown of how much an IUD costs with insurance, without, and ways to make it more affordable.
An IUD should cost you $0 with insurance.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, an IUD should be free if you have insurance. The ACA requires most private insurance companies to cover FDA-approved birth control prescribed by a doctor. So if you have insurance, getting an IUD (including the cost of the device, insertion, and removal) should cost you nothing-no copay, and no deductible. A 2019 study published in Health Affairs on the use and out-of-pocket costs of contraceptives under the ACA found that in 2016, 64% of people with private insurance paid nothing to get an IUD.
While your health plan is required to cover different types of birth control such as the IUD, there may be some exceptions that might require you to pay out-of-pocket. For example, your insurance might only cover one type of hormonal IUD out of the four. However, if you are medically required to use a different brand, your insurance is required to cover it under the ACA.
You may also be charged for IUD removal-anywhere between $125 and $400, depending on where you go. "Insurance companies often only pay for either removal or placement," says Sarah Yamaguchi, a board-certified OB/GYN. Again, your insurance should technically cover appointments for IUD insertion and removal, but these are some fees you may run into depending on the provider you see.
"For most patients, getting an IUD will at most cost them less than $200 total for everything, and for a lot it is $0," says Dr. Yamaguchi. "It is important to check your benefits for the cost to you, not whether it is covered."
Without insurance, an IUD can be expensive-but Title X clinics and programs like Planned Parenthood can help.
Here is a breakdown of how much an IUD costs without insurance:
Pre-insertion STD testing: $25-$200
Pregnancy test before insertion: $20 or less
Cost of IUD: $400-$1,000
Cost of insertion/removal: $125-$400 (cost of insertion/removal are often bundled together)
Clearly, IUD charges can really add up if you don't have insurance. Some offices do ultrasounds to make sure the placement of the IUD is correct, which could be another $100 to $500. But there are options for those who can't afford the steep cost of an IUD. The Title X Family Planning Program is a national health care system that provides important preventative care and reproductive health services to those who can't afford them. Title X clinics offer sliding scale fees for services, which are based on your income.
"If you find a Title X family planning clinic, [an IUD] might be free depending on how much your income is," says Dr. Yen. Most Planned Parenthoods are Title X clinics. Other examples of Title X clinics include academic clinics and FQHCs-Federally Qualified Health Centers-which will provide low-cost or free IUD services. You can look up Title X clinics in your area here.