- There are several available options when it comes to choosing the right birth control method
- Without insurance, birth control can cost up to $50 for the pill, $300 for the implant, and up to $1,300 for an IUD
- An appointment with a doctor or nurse may be necessary in order to get a prescription for the pill. This visit can cost anywhere from $35–$250
- With insurance, birth control may be free or at no cost
- With MiraRx, you may be able to access birth control for up to 80% off using our prescription portal
What Are The Different Birth Control Options?
There are many options when it comes to choosing birth control. The options include:
- Barrier methods. Examples include male and female condoms, as well as the diaphragm, cervical cap, and contraceptive sponge.
- Short-acting hormonal methods. Examples include birth control pills, as well as the vaginal ring (NuvaRing), skin patch (Xulane), and contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera). These are considered short-acting methods because you have to remember to use them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Long-acting hormonal methods. Examples include the copper IUD (ParaGard), the hormonal IUD (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, others), and the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon). These are considered long-acting methods because they last for three to 10 years after insertion — depending on the device — or until you decide to have the device removed.
- Sterilization. This is a permanent method of birth control. Examples include tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
- Fertility awareness methods. These methods focus on knowing which days of the month you are able to get pregnant (fertile), often based on basal body temperature and cervical mucus. To avoid getting pregnant, you do not have sex on or around the days you are fertile, or you use a barrier method of birth control.
How Does Birth Control Work?
Depending on the birth control method you choose, they work in various ways, by:
- Preventing sperm from reaching the egg
- Inactivating or damaging sperm
- Preventing an egg from being released each month
- Altering the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg doesn't attach to it
- Thickening cervical mucus so that sperm can't easily pass through it
How Effective Is Birth Control?
Each birth control method comes with a different percentage of effectiveness. The most effective birth control methods are the birth control implant, the IUD, birth control shot, birth control vaginal ring, pill, patch, abstinence, sterilization, and vasectomy.
How Much Does Birth Control Cost?
Prices for birth control vary depending on whether or not you have health insurance, or if you qualify for Medicaid or other government programs that cover the cost of birth control pills.
For most brands, 1 pill pack lasts for 1 month, and each pack can cost anywhere from $0-$50. Most health insurance plans cover birth control and can be free, however, a prescription and doctor's visit is required in order to obtain it.
Planned Parenthood is also a good option if you need birth control.
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Without insurance, birth control can cost up to $50 for the pill, $300 for the implant, and up to $1,300 for an IUD. See the chart below for more costs for each birth control method.
An appointment with a doctor or nurse may be necessary in order to get a prescription for the pill. This visit can cost anywhere from $35–$250.
With Mira, you can go to urgent care for a small co-pay, get discounts on your birth control, and continue to get care for just $45/mo.
This chart compares birth control methods and their effectiveness, cost, access, and when to use them:
*Note: this information does not replace the knowledge of healthcare professionals. It’s best to consider birth control options with your healthcare provider and to consider possible side effects.
|Birth Control Method||Effectiveness||Cost|
|Birth Control Pill||91% effective||Up to $50, but can be $0|
|Birth Control Implant||99% effective||Up to $300, can be $0|
|IUD||99% effective||Up to $1,300 can be $0|
|Birth Control Shot||94% effective||Up to $150, can be $0|
|Birth Control Vaginal Ring||91% effective||Costs up to $200, can be $0|
|Birth Control Patch||91% effective||Costs up to $150, can be $0|
|Condom||85% effective||About $2 per condom, can be $0|
|Internal Condom||79% effective||Costs around $2-3 per internal condom, but can be $0|
|Diaphragm||88% effective||Costs up to $75, can $0|
|Birth control sponge||76-88% effective||Costs up to $15 for 3|
|Cervical cap||71-86% effective||Costs up to $90, can be $0|
|Spermicide||71% effective||Costs up to $8|
|Sterilization||99% effective||Costs up to $6000, can be $0|
|Vasectomy||99% effective||Costs up to $1000, can be $0|
|Withdrawal (pull out method)||78% effective||Cost is $0|
|Abstinence||100% effective||Cost is $0|
|Fertility Awareness Method||76-88% effective||Up to $20 for supplies|
How Can I Access Free Birth Control Without Insurance?
If you don't have insurance or are underinsured, Mira may be a good option for you for affordable birth control. For just $45/mo, you can access all of our urgent care clinics across the country, get low-copays, and 80% off prescriptions through MiraRx.
Mircette, a popular prescribed birth control pill, is just about $18 through MiraRx. Ortho-try-cyclin, another popular birth control is just $15 through MiraRx.
How Can I Get Birth Control?
There are different ways to access birth control methods depending on the type. For the Birth Control Pill, you need a prescription. With spermicide, however, you do not need a prescription.
The chart below describes how to access each type of birth control.
|Birth Control Method||Access|
|Birth Control Pill||Prescription required|
|Birth Control Implant||Put in by a doctor or nurse|
|IUD||Put in by a doctor or a nurse|
|Birth Control Shot||Injected by a doctor or a nurse, or yourself at home|
|Birth Control Vaginal Ring||Prescription required|
|Birth Control Patch||Prescription required|
|Condom||No prescription required|
|Internal Condom||May need prescription|
|Birth control sponge||No prescription required|
|Cervical cap||Prescription required|
|Spermicide||No prescription required|
|Withdrawal (pull out method)||Dedication is required|
|Abstinence||Dedication is required|
|Fertility Awareness Method||Dedication required|
Where Can I Get Birth Control?
You can obtain a prescription for birth control from the following:
- Doctor's office
- Urgent care
- Health clinics
- Planned Parenthood
Will I Need A Pelvic Exam?
At Planned Parenthood, clinicians may prescribe hormonal methods of birth control to women without requiring a pelvic exam. This is a service called HOPE, Hormonal Option without Pelvic Exam. Many women qualify for this.
You should have pelvic exams and Pap tests based on your age and health history.
However, you may not need an exam or Pap test just to obtain a prescription for birth control pills.
Before going on birth control pills, your doctor should always do a basic medical exam and:
- Check your blood pressure.
- Ask if you’ve ever had blood clots.
- Ask if you smoke.
How Much Is The Morning-After Pill?
It's also important to be aware of emergency contraception — such as the morning-after pill (Plan B One-Step, Aftera, Ella, others) — which can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.
You can get the morning-after pill from CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, and other large pharmacies as well as many family planning or health department clinics, and Planned Parenthood health centers.
Plan B One-Step usually costs about $40-$50. Take Action and My Way generally cost less — about $15-$45. You can also order a generic brand called AfterPill online for $20 + $5 shipping.