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How much does birth control cost yearly (and how to save)

If you don’t have insurance, there are ways to decrease the expense

If you have health insurance, your monthly birth control plan may be completely free or come at a low-cost depending on your insurance coverage. However, if you’re uninsured or don’t have prescription coverage, the prices may not be so affordable. The cost of birth control pills alone can be upward of $50 a month for some people depending on the brand and their insurance plan. For those who use a vaginal ring, costs can be as much as $2,000 annually. Here, learn more about these prices and how you can save.

How much does birth control cost?

“Birth control cost will depend on the method you use and your insurance coverage,” explains Daniel Boyer, MD, a researcher at the Farr Institute in West Des Moines, Iowa. “You will spend much more on an initial physical exam and subsequent doctor’s visit to secure a prescription and ensuring the pill is working.” 

There are several different methods for birth control for those assigned female at birth. Products range from patches to pills, to IUDs. Most insurances will cover the majority of costs associated with birth control. The effectiveness of birth control varies depending on the type of contraceptive used. The cost between these methods also varies but also is dependent on if you have insurance. 

“If you are paying cash, the pill is the cheapest,” says Sara Krueger, DO, a gynecology provider at AdventHealth in Ottawa, Kansas. “At many of the large pharmacies, it can be less than $10 per month. The most expensive up-front cost is for longer-term options such as IUDs, subdermal implants, or permanent sterilization—but long-term those options may save money.”

But cost may not be the only factor for you. “When choosing a birth control method, the most important thing to pay attention to is finding a method that works for you and your life circumstances,” says Meera Shah, MD, MPH, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic in New York. “No single birth control method is right for everyone, so the more safe, effective methods there are for people to choose from, the better. A method that’s perfect for one person may not be right for another. The best birth control method for you depends on many factors in addition to cost—such as accessibility and ease of use, potential side effects, privacy, your reproductive plans and menstrual cycle, your risk for getting a sexually transmitted infection, and how important it is for you not to get pregnant.”

The table below displays the range of prices you can expect for different birth control options, this includes those who have insurance and those who do not. To learn more about these figures, refer to Planned Parenthood.

Birth control costs per year by method
Birth control method Average cost per month/dose Average cost per year Cost factors to consider
Birth control implant  N/A $0 to $1,300
  • The device lasts for up to 5 years
  • Low maintenance
  • More than 99% effective
Intrauterine device, better known as an IUD N/A $0 to $1,300
  • The hormonal device lasts for up to 7 years depending on the brand chosen and the copper lasts 12
  • More than 99% effective
  • Copper IUDs are hormone free
Birth control shot $0 to $150 every 3 months $600 maximum per year
  • You only need the shot 4 times a year
  • If the shot is received on time it is very effective
  • The shot can protect from cancer of the uterus
Birth control vaginal ring (also known as the vaginal ring or simply the ring) $0 to $200 per month $2,400 maximum per year
  • 91% effective
  • Reduces acne
  • More regular periods
Birth control patch $0 to $150 per month $1,800 maximum per year
  • 91% effective
  • Eases menstrual cramps
  • Lighter periods
Birth control pill $0 to $50 per month $600 maximum per year
  • 91% effective
  • Lessens symptoms of PMS
  • Reduces chance of ectopic pregnancy

Birth control implant costs

Also referred to as Nexplanon, a birth control implant is a tiny thin rod implanted into the upper arm by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse. The implant uses the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. This method also improves periods by helping with lighter periods and fewer cramps.

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Nexplanon $1300 for implantation, $300 for removal Get coupon

IUD costs

This form of birth control is a flexible T-shaped device that is put into the uterus. IUDs are either copper or hormonal IUDs. The hormonal IUDs use progestin, which is similar to the naturally produced hormone progesterone. In the United States, there are five FDA-approved IUDs including: Kyleena, Mirena, Paragard, Skyla, and Liletta. You do not have to think about your IUD until it needs to be taken out. And Paragard even works as an emergency contraceptive if you get it by five days after having unprotected sex. 

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Kyleena $2,007 for one implant Get coupon
Mirena $1,300 for implantation Get coupon
Paragard intrauterine copper $1,300 for implantation Get coupon
Skyla $1672 for one implant Get coupon
Liletta $892 for one implant Get coupon

Birth control shot costs

The Depo-Provera birth control shot is more commonly referred to as the Depo shot. It contains the hormone progestin, which stops you from ovulating. Since there is no egg, you will not get pregnant. It also makes the mucus in the cervix thicker, which makes it difficult for the sperm to get through. Individuals who go with the shot, will need to get it every 12 to 13 weeks.

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) $299 Get coupon

Birth control vaginal ring costs

The birth control ring is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. The ring works by releasing hormones into the body. There are two major brands on the market: NuvaRing and Annovera. While Nuvaring needs to be replaced every five weeks, Annovera can be used for an entire year—it is placed in the vagina for three weeks, then must be removed for a seven-day period, then can be reinserted for another cycle.

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
NuvaRing $232.03 for each ring Get coupon
Annovera $3,145 for the yearly ring Get coupon

Birth control patch costs

Birth control patches are a transdermal contraceptive patch, meaning progestin hormones are released through your skin preventing pregnancy. In the U.S., there are two brands of patches: Xulane and Twirla. Depending on which patch you get, they can be worn on your stomach, buttocks, back, or upper arm. 

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Xulane $195  Get coupon
Twirla $192 Get coupon

Phexxi contraceptive gel costs

Phexxi, a non-hormonal prescription vaginal gel, is a newer product on the market that prevents pregnancy. While it is used in a similar way as spermicide, it is not one. When put in your vagina before sex, this gel will prevent sperm from getting to an egg by lowering your vagina’s pH. Phexxi is 93% effective when used correctly; however, this product is not as easily used as others and is not always applied correctly—meaning in reality it is around 86% effective.  

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Phexxi $317 for 12 applicators Get coupon

Birth control pill costs

Birth control pills need to be taken daily to get the pregnancy prevention benefits of the hormones they contain. Some pills are progestin-only pills (also known as POPs or mini pills), which only contain progestin. The other type of birth control pills are combined oral contraceptives, or COCs, that have both estrogen and progestin. Combination pills are the most common type of birth control pill. There are many combinations of ingredient strengths and types, and each combination type may have multiple products from different manufacturers to choose from. If you experience bothersome side effects from one type, you may try another manufacturer’s product.

Brand name Average costs without insurance SingleCare drug coupons
Apri $60 Get coupon
Yaz $299 Get coupon
Sprintec 28 $259 Get coupon
Levora $73 Get coupon
Tri-Sprintec $85 Get coupon
Beyaz $314 Get coupon
Estrostep Fe $260 Get coupon
Lutera $62 Get coupon
Vienva $47 Get coupon
Lo Loestrin Fe $608 Get coupon

Ultimately, choosing the right contraception option will help with adherence. “Finding the best birth control method for you increases the likelihood that you will stick with it—which is important for decreasing your risk for unintended pregnancy,” Dr. Shah says.

How to save on birth control

Thankfully, birth control is cheaper now for those with health insurance plans. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance companies now provide some birth control options without a copay. It was estimated that $1.4 billion was saved on birth control pills in the first year of the ACA. 

If you are looking for ways to save when you get birth control, there are several options. Sterilization procedures like tubal ligation and vasectomy can be a one-time cost to prevent pregnancy depending on where you are in your family planning. There are also over-the-counter birth control options to consider that may be cheaper such as spermicides and female condoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about switching to a generic brand or about getting a long-term contraception option. Sometimes you can also get discounts on prescriptions if you fill larger quantities at once.

Most insurance companies give great discounts on birth control, as well as Medicaid and Medicare. “If you have a health department in your county you can often obtain birth control for free or on an income based fee schedule if you are uninsured as they have government funding,” suggests Dr. Krueger. For more ways to save on birth control, check out this article.