If you’re looking for a long-term form of birth control, you may be considering an IUD. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy (with only a 1 percent failure rate), and it can last for years.
Deciding what kind of birth control to use requires a bit of research to make sure you’re choosing what’s best for your body and your life. If you’ve decided to get an IUD, we can help you estimate the cost.
Amino found that the median network rate for an IUD ranges from $983 to $1,111, depending on what type of IUD you get. Keep in mind—this is an estimate for what it costs in total, not what you’ll actually pay out-of-pocket. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies must cover the full cost of an IUD, meaning you should pay $0. However, you may have to pay for related services—more on that below.
Read on to learn more about the different types of IUDs and what could affect how much you actually pay.
What is an IUD?
IUD stands for “intrauterine device”—a device that goes inside your uterus. It’s a tiny, T-shaped piece of plastic that can prevent pregnancy in a number of ways, mostly by blocking sperm from getting to an egg.
An IUD must be inserted by a doctor or nurse, so if you’re considering getting one, make an appointment with your primary care provider. Amino can help you find a doctor who offers IUDs in your area if you don’t already have a one. Planned Parenthood also offers IUDs—you can find a health center near you here.
Different types and brands of IUDs
There are two different types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.
Hormonal IUDs (including Mirena and Skyla) work by slowly releasing levonorgestrel into your body. This causes you to ovulate less often and thickens your cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to bind to an egg.
Paragard is the only non-hormonal IUD. It is made of copper, which creates an inflammatory reaction in your uterus. This also prevents fertilization.
Each brand of IUD is different. Below is a brief overview—you can click on any of the names for more information.
Mirena releases 20 micrograms of levonorgestrel every day. This prevents you from ovulating and makes it difficult for sperm to move toward your uterus. Mirena doesn’t contain any estrogen, so you may not have as many hormonal side effects as you might from other forms of birth control. Mirena is effective at preventing pregnancy for up to 5 years and can be taken out by your doctor and any time.
Skyla releases 14 micrograms of levonorgestrel every day. This prevents you from ovulating and makes it difficult for sperm to move toward your uterus. Similar to Mirena, Skyla doesn’t contain any estrogen and can be taken out by your doctor at any time. Skyla is smaller than Mirena, and it prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years. If you’re trying to decide between Mirena and Skyla, ask your doctor.
Paragard is the only non-hormonal type of IUD. It prevents pregnancy by releasing copper, which creates an inflammatory reaction in the uterus. Paragard can be a great option for people who experience negative side effects to hormonal birth control. Paragard is effective at preventing pregnancy for up to 12 years and can be taken out by your doctor at any time.
Are there alternatives to an IUD?
There are lots of different types of birth control to choose from—IUDs are just one option.If you’re looking for a long-term form of contraception, you may also consider:
- Birth control pills
- Birth control implant (Nexplanon)
- Birth control shot (Depo-Provera)
- Birth control ring (NuvaRing)
Shorter-term options are available, too, including:
- Birth control patch
- Birth control sponge
If you’re unsure what type of birth control is right for you, make sure to ask your doctor. You can use Amino to find a local gynecologist if you don’t already have a primary care provider.
How much does each type of IUD cost?
We found that Mirena IUDs are, on average, just slightly more expensive. However, all three types tend to cost around $1,000.
Remember: these are estimates for the total cost including what insurance pays—not the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket.
Because of the ACA, there’s a good chance that you’ll pay $0 out-of-pocket for an IUD. However, there are a number of factors that could affect how much you pay, including:
Whether you have health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, you will likely have to pay the full cost of the IUD out-of-pocket.
If you work for a religious employer or organization. Some religious employers are exempt from covering contraception. Even if you have health insurance through your employer, an IUD may not be covered.
Whether your insurance covers related service charges. Under the ACA, insurance companies must cover the full cost of the IUD device itself. However, you may be responsible for charges related to getting the IUD, like the office visit, pelvic exam, anesthesia (if needed), or follow-up visits. These costs could be anywhere from $0 to a few hundred dollars.
What type of IUD you choose. Some insurance plans only cover certain types of IUDs. If you choose an IUD type that’s not covered, you may be responsible for the full cost. Make sure to call your insurance provider ahead of time to confirm what types of IUDs are covered.
If you go to an out-of-network doctor. The ACA only requires insurance companies to cover the cost of an IUD if you go to an in-network doctor. You can call your insurance provider ahead of time to make sure your doctor is in-network—or you can use Amino to check. Just click “Look up your current doctor” and type in their name.
Will your health insurance cover the cost of an IUD?
The ACA requires health plans that started on or after September 23, 2010 to cover contraception with no patient cost-sharing. This means that if you have health insurance, you should pay $0 out-of-pocket for an IUD. But in reality, you may end up paying some amount—here’s why.
Although many insurance plans cover the cost of the IUD device itself, some don’t cover related service charges, like the office visit, pelvic exam, anesthesia (if needed), or follow-up visits. You may also have to pay if you go to an out-of-network doctor.
Here are some best practices for minimizing your out-of-pocket cost:
Call your insurance company and ask whether they cover those related service charges (office visit, pelvic exam, anesthesia, follow-up visits).
Ask what your co-pay and co-insurance could be if you make an appointment to get an IUD.
Make sure the doctor who will be inserting your IUD is on your insurance company’s list of in-network providers. Going to out-of-network doctors costs more and results in you getting balance billed.
If you don’t have insurance, the ACA guidelines unfortunately don’t apply, and you may have to pay completely out-of-pocket.
How to get the most for your money
Your insurance company should pay the bulk—if not all—of the cost of your IUD. To make sure you’re getting the most (and best) care for your money:
Ask your insurance company about your costs, like your co-insurance, co-pay, and deductible.
Utilize your Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
Use Amino to compare different doctors who offer IUDs in your area.
Have a conversation with your doctor. This is especially important if you don’t have insurance and are paying for your IUD yourself. Some doctors or health centers will offer a discount or an interest-free payment plan if they know that you’re shouldering the cost on your own.