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3 Options for Birth Control if You’re Uninsured

Article presented by Tom White.

Getting the healthcare you need can be tricky if you don’t have insurance. You may even forego the preventative care that is important to catch conditions early when they’re more successfully treated. However, in some cases, skipping preventative care isn’t worth the money saved. Perhaps nothing is more important than preventing an unwanted pregnancy, especially now that options for terminating one are increasingly limited.

Where your health is concerned, an ounce of prevention is usually worth a pound of cure. But how can you get it if you can’t afford health insurance? If there are ways to get affordable contraception without it, you probably want to know.

Don’t just assume that health insurance is the only route to getting birth control. You have options for finding low- or no-cost birth control even if you’re uninsured. Here are three you might want to check out.

1. Skip the Line and Jump Online

There was a time when getting birth control came only after stirrups and a Pap smear in the gynecologist’s office. By the time you got your first pill pack, you had sunk a lot of time and money into it. A year later, you had to do it all over again.

Fortunately, things have changed. Online options now make getting a prescription and having your birth control show up at your door a breeze. Even better, that breath of fresh air is affordable for many types of pregnancy prevention, even without insurance.

Take sprintec birth control pills, for example. You may need to pay a one-time small online consultation fee. Then, you could pay less than $20 for each monthly pill pack. Not only does sprintec prevent pregnancy, but it also helps treat acne and reduces your risk of ovarian cysts. That’s major healthcare for a minor investment.

Online birth control has privacy advantages as well. There’s no chance of bumping into someone you know in a waiting room or at the pharmacy. And if you don’t want your parents, partner, or roommate to know about your contraception, this route offers a solution.  Online consultations, subscriptions, and delivery are completely discreet.

Technology is making healthcare more affordable than ever. In fact, as many states are making contraception access increasingly more difficult, online options are looking better than ever. Skip the hassles and keep your private stuff private. Just log on to an online provider and get started.

2. Visit a Low- or No-Cost Health Clinic

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” does provide more affordable health insurance to individuals who qualify for subsidies. The ACA requires plans to cover contraception, which make most options available from providers at no cost. The uninsured, however, have no such guarantees.

There are options for free or low-cost birth control exams and contraception if you want to see a doctor. What is available to you may be limited by where you live. In fact, many people live in contraceptive deserts where there are few if any options at all. Coupled with a lack of health insurance, you face an uphill battle.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health and Title X clinics receive federal money to provide healthcare services. These safety-net programs may offer limited contraceptive services. For example, you may be able to get the pill or patch, but not an intrauterine device (IUD) or implant. Still, the cost of services delivered by these clinics are charged on a sliding income scale, which may put them within reach.

Planned Parenthood clinics have distributed free or low-cost contraception for decades. They, too, are facing increasing politically-charged challenges in their ability to deliver care. So are college and university health clinics, which are designed to make contraception and other care free or extremely affordable.

It’s certainly worth the time it may take to research your clinic options, beginning with your local public health department. If you live in an urban area, you may find a lot to choose from. If you live in a rural area, the pickings will likely be slim. But if you want to see a healthcare provider in person, it’s worth the effort to find one you can afford.

3. Get the Pill Without a Prescription

Even before the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, there was a push to increase contraception access. Now, though, proponents of over the counter birth control are moving with greater speed. After all, if terminating a pregnancy is less and less of an option, contraception needs to be an easier one.

Many states have enacted legislation that allows pharmacists to prescribe contraception without a physical examination. It’s similar to what you would do with an online provider. You answer some questions then get a prescription. The difference is that you have to go to the pharmacy and meet with the pharmacist rather than just log on.

More recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an OTC oral contraception brand for the first time ever. This progestin-only or “mini pill” will be available at grocery and convenience stores as well as pharmacies beginning in 2024.

Of course, it’s just one brand of one type of birth control pill, and you must remember to take it daily. Otherwise, the level of pregnancy protection it provides is drastically reduced. Moreover, what the OTC pill will cost is unknown. Because it’s currently the only FDA-approved pill, it could be pricier than contraceptive products you can, for example, buy online.

For certain, skipping the need for a doctor’s visit to get the pill saves time and money. How much is yet to be seen. But if you’re uninsured, it’s worth checking out when this OTC pill hits store shelves.

Uninsured Doesn’t Mean You Have to Be Unprotected

Most people don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it. Being unable to access affordable birth control to prevent pregnancy is counterintuitive. If you don’t have the money to pay for insurance, you probably don’t have the money to have a child.

Condoms and spermicides are easy to find and inexpensive. But they don’t offer the same level of pregnancy protection as other methods. Before you rely only on less effective birth control, check out some low- or no-cost options. It will be worth the investment.

Members of the editorial and news staff of Woman's World were not involved in the creation of this content.

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