The Supreme Court ruled that some corporations have the right to be exempted from paying for specific types of contraceptives for their employees, reigniting the hunt for cheap birth control methods.
Obamacare required that employers provide four birth control methods that some consider forms of abortion as part of their health insurance plans; the Supreme Court found that specific provision violates the religious liberties of some businesses.
The four birth control methods are two morning-after pills (Plan B One-Step, which is available over the counter, and Ella, for which you need a prescription) and two intrauterine devices (Paragard and Mirena).
The morning-after pill, also known as “emergency contraception” prevents a pregnancy if used within 72 hours after intercourse. These options are the most controversial for religious groups and the anti-abortion movement because they are considered a form of abortion. IUDs are traditional contraception methods but some can also be used as emergency contraception.
Here are some contraception options from the cheapest to the priciest:
Condoms: If abstinence isn’t part of your plan, using condoms bought in bulk is the cheapest option. On UndercoverCondoms.com, you can purchase a pack of 100 condoms for $24.99, bringing your total monthly cost to $4 assuming you have intercourse on average four times a week, or $2 a month if you have intercourse on average twice a week.
IUD: The next best option from a cost perspective is the Paragard IUD, which a doctor inserts into the uterus. Since it last up to 10 years, at about $750 for the device, it comes to only $6 a month if it is actually kept for a decade. The Paragard can only be purchase on the manufacturer’s website, which allows you to pay in several installments. Another IUD, called Mirena, only lasts for five years and is slightly more expensive. At $927.18 for the device, it comes to about $15 a month if kept for five years. Keep in mind that you'll also have to pay your doctor to insert the IUD.
Birth control shot: The birth control shot, which is called Depo-Provera, lasts three months and costs $84 for one shot at Walmart, bringing your monthly cost to $28.
Birth control pill: The pill is one of the most commonly-used birth control method and prices vary greatly depending on the brand you chose and the dosage you need. For instance, Tri-Nessa costs $37.49 a month at Duane Reade in New York City, while a similar version called Tri-Sprintec costs $9 a month at Walmart. Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, one of the most expensive birth control pills, costs $142.99 at Duane Reade.
Birth control patch: Ortho Evra is a skin patch that combines hormones to prevent ovulation for a month. It costs $105.99 at Target.
Vaginal ring: NuvaRing is a vaginal ring also effective for a month. It costs $108 at Walmart.
Birth control sponge: Today Sponge is available at Walmart for $10.97 for a box of three, bringing your monthly cost to $58 assuming you have intercourse on average fourth times a month. If you buy it at the Duane Reade in New York City, it will cost you almost double. The box of three sponges costs $21.99 there, or $117 a month.
Morning-After Pill: Ella, which requires a prescription, can be purchased online for $59 for one pill on KwikMed.com, or Walmart sells it for $44.
Morning-After Pill: Plan B One Step, which is available over the counter, costs $54.99 at Duane Reade or $46.99 at Walmart.
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