Health
Birth Control
Birth Control
August 23, 2022

How Much Does Birth Control Cost?

Find out how much an IUD costs, Plan B, condoms, and more.
Published on
August 23, 2022
Updated on
— What's changed?
Medically Reviewed by
6 minute read

It can be overwhelming to find the right form of birth control. There are various factors that go into the decision, including accessibility, side effects, and the overall effectiveness (1). But one of the most important factors to consider is birth control cost, which depends on both health insurance, the method of contraception, and state laws. That’s why we created a guide to illustrate how much birth control costs, from the hormonal birth control pill to condoms, vaginal rings, IUDs, and more. Knowing how much your birth control costs might help you weigh what’s right for you. 

How much is birth control: Quick look 

Use this table to get a clear picture of cost ranges for various types of birth control. Note that because of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of all women’s contraception methods (2, 3). They are not required, on the other hand, to cover vasectomies and external condoms — though many still do. While there are 18 options of birth control approved by the FDA you can get free through insurance, some insurances might not cover more than three months. After those three months, you may need to search for a provider to refill a prescription. (4). 

While this table illustrates the costs of various birth control methods, the duration of the method also impacts cost — a contraception method inserted once that lasts years will cost much more than a single use contraception, for example. 

Contraceptive Method Cost range (with - without insurance)
Used daily with monthly prescription Monthly
Birth control pills Free - $50
The patch Free - $150
Used once per intercourse Each
Condoms Free - $3
Sponge Free - $15
Used once as emergency contraception soon after unprotected sex Each
Plan B Free - $50
Used for permanent sterilization Each
Vasectomy Free - $1,000
Inserted once, lasts weeks to years Each
Intrauterine Device (IUD) Free - $1300

1. How much do birth control pills cost? 

Birth control pills cost $20 to $50 per month without insurance. They are free with most insurance plans and can also be bought over the counter. There are two types of birth control pills: progestin-only pills and combination pills that contain estrogen and progestin. Both have their respective pros and cons, and similar rates of effectiveness (5).

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 99% effective, if taken consistently. 
  • Frequency of use: Daily. 
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. Pharmacists can also prescribe, depending on the state. 

2. How much is a vaginal ring? 

Without insurance, the NuvaRing can cost up to $200, and the Annovera ring — which can be used over the course of one year — can cost up to $2,300. Both rings are free with most insurance plans. The vaginal ring is a flexible ring worn inside the vagina. It’s relatively easy to use — similar to inserting a tampon. While the NuvaRing is replaced each month, the Annovera is reused every three weeks. 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 99% effective, if used perfectly.
  • Frequency of use: Inserted every 3-5 weeks, depending on the ring. 
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. Pharmacists can also prescribe, depending on the state. 

3. How much does an IUD cost? 

An IUD can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,300 without insurance. It’s free or low-cost with most insurance plans (3) . An IUD is a small, plastic device that is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional. There are two types of IUD: the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD. The copper IUD can last up to a decade, while the hormonal IUD can last for up to seven years. Both can be removed at any time. 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: More than 99% effective.
  • Frequency of use: Inserted once every 3-10 years.
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. It must be inserted by a healthcare professional. 

4. How much is the birth control patch? 

The patch can cost up to $150 per month without insurance (2), but it’s free with most insurance plans. The patch is a thin bandage that attaches to the skin, like a band-aid. After it’s placed on the skin, it releases estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream. It can remain attached to the skin in most conditions, including swimming and showering. 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 91% effective. 
  • Frequency of use: Replaced every week for three weeks.
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. 

5. How much does Depo-Provera cost? 

One shot of Depo-provera costs $50-$150 without insurance. It’s free with most insurance plans (3) . Depo-Provera contains progestin and is an injectable form of birth control. It’s injected every few months, and it’s an especially convenient method for those who prefer not to take a daily or weekly form of birth control. The shot can be injected by a healthcare professional or by yourself, depending on your preference (6).

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 99% effective, if taken on time.
  • Frequency of use: Around four times a year.
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. Once prescribed, there is an option to take home a supply of shots for self-administration.

6. How much does Plan B cost? 

Plan B costs around $50 without insurance. It is free with some insurance plans. Plan B is an emergency contraception pill that uses levonorgestrel to delay or prevent ovulation. Unlike common forms of birth control, Plan B contains a higher hormone dose, and it’s most effective when taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex. 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 95% to 87%, depending on when it’s taken (24 hours vs. 72 hours after unprotected sex). 
  • Frequency of use: Once within five days of unprotected sex .
  • Accessibility: No prescription needed. Plan B is sold over the counter at most pharmacies and drugstores.

7. How much are condoms? 

One internal condom costs around $2-$3 without insurance, and one external costs around $1-$2. A pack of ten external condoms costs $7-$30. Many health clinics and doctor’s offices provide free condoms, and it’s free with most insurance plans.

Condoms, which are generally made from thin latex, block semen from coming into contact with the vagina. There are two types: external condoms, which are worn over the penis, and internal condoms, which are worn inside the vagina. It’s important to note that oil-based products (i.e., moisturizers, lubricants) can tear the latex and thus, make it ineffective. 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 95%-98%, depending on the condom and if used correctly. 
  • Frequency of use: New condom needed each time there is penetrative sex. 
  • Accessibility: No prescription needed. They are sold in drugstores, doctor’s offices, convenience stores, health centers, gas stations, and more. 

8. How much do sponges cost? 

A pack of three sponges costs up to $15, but it’s free or low-cost with most insurance plans. The sponge is a soft, squishy device that is worn inside the vagina for up to 24 hours before penetration. To activate the spermicide, the sponge needs to be wet prior to insertion. It should be left in the vagina for at least six hours (9,10). 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 80% effective, if used correctly.
  • Frequency of use: Worn during penetrative sex and for up to 24 hours. 
  • Accessibility: No prescription needed. It’s sold over the counter at most pharmacies and drugstores.

9. How much do diaphragms cost? 

One diaphragm costs $15-$90 without insurance, but it’s free or low-cost with most insurance plans. The diaphragm is a flexible, silicone cup that’s inserted into the vagina before penetration. To effectively protect against pregnancy, spermicide needs to be added in the cup. It should be left in the vagina for at least six hours after sex (10, 11). 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: Around 94% effective, if used perfectly. 
  • Frequency of use: Worn during penetrative sex and can be reused for up to two years. 
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. 

10. How much do cervical caps cost? 

One cervical cap costs $90-$250 without insurance, but it’s free with most insurance plans. The cervical cap is inserted into the vagina before penetration, and it fits tightly on the cervix. It should be left in the vagina for at least six hours post-penetration and up to two days (10, 12).

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: 86% effective for those who haven’t given birth, and 71% effective for those who have. 
  • Frequency of use: Worn during penetrative sex and can be reused for up to one year. 
  • Accessibility: Prescription needed from a doctor or nurse. 

11. How much do vasectomies cost? 

A vasectomy costs about about $1,000 without insurance, but it’s free or at a lower cost with some insurance plans. A vasectomy, which is specifically for people with penises, is a permanent method of birth control that cuts the tubes that hold sperm. After the surgery, which takes 10-30 minutes, the penis can no longer release sperm during ejaculation. While reversal surgery is possible, it’s not always successful (1, 2). 

  • Effectiveness of pregnancy prevention: More than 99% effective. 
  • Frequency of use: A one-time procedure
  • Accessibility: Procedure must be performed at a doctor’s office, hospital, or health clinic.

The bottom line

The cost of birth control varies depending on the method, ranging from $1 (condoms) to $2,300 (Annovera ring). If your preferred birth control feels like a barrier, many insurance plans will most likely cover its full cost — whether it’s a ring, a patch, an IUD, or a condom. Just remember to explore your options so you can find the birth control that’s best for you.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Luisa is a writer with a focus in developmental psychology and the study of resilience. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English, and she is currently studying clinical psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College. In her free time, Luisa likes to hike, read memoirs, and drink lots of caffeine-free tea.

Orgasm
Order Form

We want to help you get the orgasm you want.
Let's get it on
O.school keeps this information totally private and anonymous.

References

1. Woodhams EJ, Gilliam M. Contraception. Ann Intern Med. 2019 Feb 5;170(3):ITC18-ITC32. https://doi.org/10.7326/AITC201902050 PMID: 30716758.

2. Trussell J, Lalla AM, Doan QV, Reyes E, Pinto L, Gricar J. Cost effectiveness of contraceptives in the United States. Contraception. 2009 Jan;79(1):5-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2008.08.003 Epub 2008 Sep 25. Erratum in: Contraception. 2009 Aug;80(2):229-30. PMID: 19041435; PMCID: PMC3638200.

3. Kosova, E. (2020, December 16). How much do different kinds of birth control cost without insurance?: National Women's Health Network. National Women's Health Network . Available from https://nwhn.org/much-different-kinds-birth-control-cost-without-insurance/

4. Carlin CS, Fertig AR and Down BE, Affordable Care Act’s mandate eliminating contraceptive cost sharing influenced choices of women with employer coverage, Health Affairs, 2016, 35(9):1608–1615.

5. Over-the-Counter Access to Hormonal Contraception: ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 788. (2019). Obstetrics and gynecology, 134(4), e96–e105. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000003473

6. Lerma, K., & Goldthwaite, L. M. (2019). Injectable contraception: emerging evidence on subcutaneous self-administration. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology, 31(6), 464–470. https://doi.org/10.1097/GCO.0000000000000574

7. Planned Parenthood. What’s Plan-B? Morning after pill. Available from: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/morning-after-pill-emergency-contraception/whats-plan-b-morning-after-pill

8. United States Agency International Development. Condom Factsheet. April 2015. Available from : https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1864/condomfactsheet.pdf

9. Mehta B. H. (2006). OTC Product: Today Sponge. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA, 46(2), 304. https://doi.org/10.1331/154434506776180711

10. Food and Drug Administration. Birth Control Guide. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/media/150299/download

11. Planned Parenthood. How do I get a diaphragm? Available from: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/diaphragm/how-do-i-get-a-diaphragm

12. Planned Parenthood. How do I get a cervical cap? Available from: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/cervical-cap/how-do-i-get-cervical-cap