Can You Get Copay-Free Birth Control?

The new rules governing copay-free birth control are turning out to be really complicated. Use this flowchart to determine whether you can really get your contraception for free.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insured women in America were supposed to get birth control with no copay or deductible starting August 1. Sort of — the rule only applies to plans that start or renew on or after August 1. Some plans get an extension, or have been “grandfathered in,” and won’t have to comply with the rules yet. And even those whose plans are new have been reporting trouble getting their contraceptive of choice. Below, a visual guide to whether you can expect to get birth control with no copay.

Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

A quick note: birth control still isn’t really “free” under the new rules — as others have pointed out, you’re still paying for it with your work for your employer and with your insurance premiums. You just might not pay a copay anymore. It’s also not clear if all insurers are fully hip to the new rules — Kat Stoeffel’s carrier, for instance, kept showing a charge even for forms of contraception that were supposed to be covered. When I called pharmacies in New York, Los Angeles, and Memphis, none could recall having dispensed any free birth control under the new rules. My plan happened to renew on August 1, and when I called my insurer, United Healthcare, they assured me that I could have my pill, a generic, at a cost of $0. But given the uncertainty still surrounding the rules, the best way to determine for sure if your insurer will be covering your contraception without copay is to call the number on your insurance card and ask.

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