Last week, I wrote about efforts to boost IUD use in developing countries. This form of birth control, despite its benefits, isn’t widely embraced here in the United States, either – with surveys showing that less than 10 percent of women of reproductive age use it. But, as reported earlier this week by Kaiser Health News, the recently enacted Affordable Care Act might change that:
IUDs and the hormonal implant — a matchstick-sized rod that is inserted under the skin of the arm that releases pregnancy-preventing hormones for up to three years — generally cost between $400 and $1,000. The steep upfront cost has deterred many women from trying them, women’s health advocates say, even though they are cost-effective in the long run compared with other methods, because they last far longer.
Under the Affordable Care Act, new plans or those that lose their grandfathered status are required to provide a range of preventive benefits, including birth control, without patient cost-sharing. Yet even when insurance is covering the cost of the device and insertion, some plans may require women to pick up related expenses, such as lab charges.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) require no effort once they’re put into place, so they can be an appealing birth-control option for teens and young women, whose rates of unintended pregnancy are highest, experts say.