New Trump birth control rule could put IUDs out of reach for many women
The Trump administration is expected to announce a new rule on Friday that will roll back Obamacare’s birth control mandate, allowing any employer to seek a moral or religious exemption to providing no-cost birth control as part of their health insurance plan.
Currently 55 million American women benefit from this coverage, and the rollback could force them to pay out of pocket for contraception they used to get at little or no cost. Experts warn that this will reduce access to all forms of birth control—but it could put IUDs in particular out of reach.
IUDs have become one of the most appealing options for women looking for long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). They’re highly effective, safe, easy to use, and offer a non-hormonal option that’s sought after by women who can’t use other forms of birth control. However, they come with a high upfront cost compared to other methods. Even under Obamacare’s protections, getting an IUD could cost a few hundred dollars out of pocket, due to charges related to getting the device inserted.
Without mandated coverage, IUDs could be prohibitively expensive. On average, we found that an IUD could cost about $1,000 out of pocket—and could cost even more in states like Alaska where healthcare costs are routinely high.
Below, we’ve broken down how much an IUD could cost in each state under the administration’s new rule. Even the lowest cost estimate we found is about $800, which would be out of reach for many women.
How much could an IUD cost?
Our national median network rate estimate for a Mirena IUD is $1,111. In Alaska, a Mirena IUD could cost even more—a whopping $1,586.
This median network rate is similar to the “allowed amount” that insurance companies currently cover in full. If employers (and, in turn, insurers) aren’t required to cover the full cost under the new rule, women could be on the hook for the entirety of the bill.
Other brands wouldn’t be much cheaper. A Skyla IUD could also cost around $1,000, with a high of $1,416 in Alaska.
Similarly, a Paragard IUD, one of the most reliable forms of birth control that doesn’t involve hormones, could cost $1,045.
What this means for women in America
A survey conducted in 2010 found that a third of American women had struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives. After Obamacare (and its birth control mandate) were passed in 2010, more and more women gained access to affordable contraception—and the number of women choosing IUDs has slowly ticked up from 7.7% in 2006-2010 to 15% in 2011-2015. The rule announced by the Trump administration today would revert birth control coverage to the pre-Obamacare era.
No-cost birth control doesn’t just expand women’s access to care. It opens up their options. It means you can choose what’s right for your body and life, not just your wallet.
When you take away coverage, you may not be directly taking away options. But the effect is the same. Given that 44% of American women said they would go into debt if they received medical bill for more than $100, Trump’s new rule could mean that IUDs simply aren’t an option for many women—even those who have health insurance.