Twelve types of birth control exist and counting, but hundreds of birth control pill brands exist. You may already know of just a few birth control pills brands by name, but many fall under just a few generic formulas. The cost of birth control pills without insurance can range between $10-$200 per monthly pack, which usually comes out to a few hundred or thousands of dollars per year.
If you consider birth control pills as your contraceptive solution, speak with your OB/GYN about what pill type is best for you to reduce your risk of experiencing harsh side effects. Mira provides discounted rates on doctor’s office visits and for over 1,000 prescriptions. Find out if Mira could help you save on your birth control today.
Cost of Birth Control Pills
Without insurance, the cost of birth control pills can range between $10-$200 per monthly pack, equating to a few hundred or thousands of dollars per year. If you don’t have insurance, you may also have to pay for the cost of your exam, which could end up being an additional couple hundred dollars.
Read on for more information on where to find discounted birth control pills and further explanations of birth control types.
|Progestin/Estrogen||Brand Name Examples||Average Price - 1 Pack (24-28 pills)||Average Price - 3 Packs (72- 84 pills)|
|Levonorgestrel/Ethinyl estradiol||Alesse, Aviane, Lutera||$12.34|
|Desogestrel/Ethinyl estradiol||Apri, Desogen, Ortho-Cept||$12.12||$36.38|
|Norethindrone/Ethinyl estradiol||Junel 1.5/30, Larin 1.5/30, Loestrin 21 1.5/30, Microgestin 1.5/30, Aurovela 1.5/30||$15.72||$47.17|
|Norethindrone acetate/Ethinyl estradiol||Larin 24, Microgestin 24, Juel Fe 24||$26.54||$79.61|
|Ethynodiol diacetate/Ethinyl estradiol||Zovia, Kelnor||$15.12||$45.36|
|Norgestrel/Ethinyl estradiol||Lo-Ovral, Ovral||$28.52||$83.91|
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover contraceptive counseling and methods for all women enrolled, as prescribed by a health care provider. These services must be covered without charging copayments when provided by an in-network provider, regardless of whether you have met your deductible. So, if you have health insurance or are eligible for federal health insurance programs, your contraception will be covered. Thankfully, if you do not have health insurance, there are ways to find affordable birth control pills.
To give you an idea of how much birth control costs and the potential savings available, we identified a list of common combination birth control pills and averaged retail prices and available discounts for cost comparison in the table below. This is not an exhaustive list of all birth control pill brands, as hundreds exist. Cost comparisons were made based on brand name and may be cheaper if requesting the generic name, also known as the progestin and estrogen names, combined.
Your cost of contraception may also vary depending on what type of birth control you are prescribed and whether you receive a brand name or generic birth control pill prescription. Knowing where to find affordable birth control pills could be an easy way to save you money this year.
How Birth Control Pills Work
Birth control pills also referred to as “the pill,” were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960. Nearly 82 percent of women that have ever used some form of contraception have used the pill. Today, birth control pills are commonly used by 14 percent of women in America aged 15-49, and understandably so. Birth control pills are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy when taken consistently.
Not only does birth control reduce your chances of getting pregnant, but it can also aid in regulating your period and lowering your risk of ovarian and uterine cancers. Birth control pills have also been effective for improving acne and treating patients with endometriosis. The pill works by inhibiting the release of an egg from your ovary, also called ovulation. While they thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, they also thin the uterine lining, so a fertilized egg is less likely to attach - and cause pregnancy.
Two birth control pills exist, combination pills or progestin-only pills also called “minipills.” Read on for more information regarding the costs of birth control pills without insurance, and these two types of birth control are explained.
How to Get Affordable Birth Control Pills
Many different options exist to make birth control pills more affordable without insurance, but many still do not know they are available. A simple online search can help point you toward coupons for your prescribed pill, but you may also qualify for assistance programs depending on your income level.
Once you have found a birth control pill that is right for you and prescribed by your doctor, you can search online for coupons. Many exist for various brand name birth control pills for you to present at the pharmacy to bring your costs down.
Created in 1970, Title X provides affordable contraceptive and reproductive health care for those of low incomes and who cannot otherwise afford these services alone. Services provided by Title X include:
- Wellness exams
- Lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings
- Birth control
- Contraception education
- Testing and treatment for STIs and HIV
With MiraRX, you can find discounts on hundreds of birth control pills located nearest you. Mira provides up to 80 percent discounted rates on over 1,000 prescriptions. It is as easy as typing your prescription, putting in your location, and allowing Mira to point you in the direction of savings! Mira also provides discounted doctor’s office and urgent care visits to make getting a prescription even more affordable. Try MiraRX today.
Types of Birth Control Pills
Two types of birth control pills exist, the combination pill and the minipill. Combination birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin. The minipill contains progestin-only. Progestin is a synthetic hormone - meaning it is man-made to mimic the function of naturally occurring progesterone. Progestin is responsible for inhibiting ovulation from preventing pregnancy. Progestins are found in all forms of hormonal birth control, including hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), injections, and implants. Low-dose versions of both the combination pill and mini pill are available and are believed to cause fewer side effects than high-dose pills.
Get Mira - Health Benefits You Can Afford.
Get doctor visits, lab tests, prescription, and more. Affordable copays. Available in 45+ states. Only $45/month on average.
Combination birth control pills contain both estrogen and progestin. Several varieties of combination pills exist, varying in how the hormones are distributed throughout the month. Monophasic, multiphasic, or extended-cycle pills deliver hormones at different levels throughout the month.
Monophasic Combination Birth Control Pills
Monophasic birth control pills are the most common form of birth control pills. While research suggests no difference between types of birth control pills, monophasic research provides the greatest evidence of safety and efficacy, being that it has been studied the most. Monophasic pills equally distribute hormones in each live pill. These have the widest selection of brands; offering single-phase pills that provide 21- or 28-day packages. These pills typically have the least side effects of birth control pills because of the steady release of hormones instead of fluctuating levels of multiphasic types.
Multiphasic Combination Birth Control Pills
Multiphasic birth control pills are another form of combination pill. Multiphasic pills are also used in one-month cycles, similar to monophasic, but contain varying levels of hormones in each pill throughout the month. The last week of pills in your pack are inactive pills to initiate your period.
Extended-cycle pills are typically used in 13-week cycles, taking hormonal pills for 12 weeks and then inactive pills on the 13th to initiate your period. In other words, extended-cycle pills reduce your period to occurring only a few times a year.
Minipills, also known as progestin-only pills, do not contain estrogen and are advised for women with certain medical conditions or those sensitive to estrogen. Minipills also have lower levels of progestin than combination pills. With minipills, the level of hormones in each pill throughout the month is the same - similar to a monophasic combination pill.
Progestin-only minipills tend to be safer for smokers over 35 years of age, who have a history of blood clots, or who want to breastfeed. Minipills are easily reversible, meaning your fertility will likely return to normal immediately after stopping your pill.
Choosing Your Birth Control Pills
It is important to know that not every pill is suitable for every woman. You should speak with your health care provider about the factors that may affect which method of contraception you choose. Consider your menstrual symptoms, cardiovascular health, and other medications that may hinder the effectiveness or produce more symptoms, or increase the risk for serious adverse effects. To make contraception more affordable, ask your health care provider about prescribing generic birth control or if they have any available coupons for brand-name pills.
Cost of Birth Control Pills Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Many women end up trying multiple forms of contraception. Finding the one that works best for you may take trial and error. Consider your susceptibility to side effects, adverse conditions, and the other birth control options available.
Virtual care for only $25 per visit
Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.
What are the common side effects of using hormonal birth control pills?
Common side effects of combination birth control pills include nausea, vomiting, headache, weight gain, fluid retention, breast tenderness, and spotting. When taking the minipill, one may experience similar symptoms as those taking a combination pill but may also experience acne and breast tenderness, ovarian cysts, and decreased libido. Not every woman experiences every symptom, and in many cases, may not experience any. Talk with your doctor about your health concerns to find a birth control pill or other forms of contraceptive most suitable for you.
When should I consider a form of contraception other than birth control?
If you are prone to forgetting to take your pill, you may want to consider less time-sensitive options. Hormones in birth control pills wear off in about 36 hours if you are inconsistent in taking them. Women who are at an increased risk of blood clotting or stroke, have a history of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, or other chronic conditions should not use birth control pills. Talk with your doctor about what is right for you.
What other forms of birth control are there?
According to Planned Parenthood, these are the following twelve types of birth control:
- Permanent Birth Control
- Intrauterine Device (IUD) - Nonhormonal/Hormonal
- Implant - Hormonal
- The Shot - Hormonal
- The Vaginal Ring - Hormonal
- The Patch - Hormonal
- Birth Control Pills - Hormonal
- Condoms - Non-hormonal
- Emergency Contraception - Non-hormonal/Hormonal
- Fertility Awareness/Natural Family Planning - Non-hormonal
- Withdrawal - Non-hormonal
What should I do if I skip my birth control pill?
Consider these recommendations on what to do if you miss your birth control pill.
Skipping Your Combo-Pill
The Cleveland Health Clinic breaks down what to do if you have missed one, or multiple of your combination pills, below. Missing multiple pills puts you at an increased risk of pregnancy. If you miss one, two, or three or more pills of your combination pack, here is what to do.
One Pill Missed
If you miss one pill, take it as soon as you remember, and then take the rest as you normally would. This may mean you take two pills in one day, but you shouldn't need backup birth control or emergency contraception in most cases. It is still highly advisable to use a backup form of protection, such as condoms if you miss one of your pills.
Two Pills Missed
If you miss two pills, take the pill you most recently missed as soon as you remember. Then continue taking the rest per usual. Ex. If it’s Sunday and you missed Friday and Saturday, take Saturday’s pill as soon as you remember, and then Sunday’s pill at your regularly scheduled time. You should also consider using backup birth control or avoiding sex until a full seven days of hormonal pills have been retaken.
Three or More Pills Missed
If you have missed three or more pills or have been greater than 48 hours since you last took a hormonal pill, you are no longer protected against pregnancy. At this point, you may want to consider emergency contraception if you had unprotected sex in the last five days of the pills being missed.
Skipping Your Mini Pill
Missing your mini pill is a bit different than missing your combination pill because it is more time-sensitive. According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, your minipill is considered “missed” if it has been more than three hours since your regularly scheduled time. Just one missed pill puts you at risk of pregnancy.
The Cleveland Health Clinic also suggests that if you miss your minipill, you should take the pill as soon as you remember and continue taking your pills as normal, even if that means taking two to get you back on track. You should also consider using backup contraception or avoiding sexual activity until you have taken the pill consistently for two consecutive days. You may want to call your doctor or use emergency contraception if you have had unprotected sex in the last 5 days.
If you are considering birth control pills are your form of contraception, many affordable options are available to you. Before going straight to the pharmacist to pay full price for your birth control, try searching coupons online or exploring prescription programs. Most importantly, speak with your doctor about what type of birth control pill or other forms of contraception are most suitable for you.
Mira provides discounted doctor's office and urgent care visits. When looking for an affordable women’s health care provider, allow Mira to help find one closest to you. With Mira, you receive up to 80 percent discounts on over 1,000 prescriptions - including birth control. Try Mira today.
Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!