SUMMARY: How much does Depo-Provera cost? Like anything else in the health-care marketplace, the answer is: it depends. Also … is it covered under the Affordable Care Act? Read on for a thorough explanation, or …
While birth-control pills and IUD’s are common contraceptivs, many clinics also offer Depo-Provera contraceptive injection, a shot of progestin that hinders or prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs.
Women using Depo receive a shot every three months, and each shot can cost anywhere from $45-$100. Some clinics have Depo on hand — and are able to estimate the price of the actual Depo; some can’t tell you in advance. Either way, its difficult to know exactly what it costs without asking.
There can also be hidden fees: at one Manhattan clinic, the shot itself costs $55, and there’s a $95 charge for the visit for all new patients, totaling $150. If the same patient were to go back to the same clinic for her Depo shot three months later, she would again be charged $55 for the shot, and this time, an additional $65, as a returning patient, totaling $120.
So, a $55 shot can wind up costing you double, unless you ask about any hidden charges in advance
So how much does Depo-Provera cost?
If you are uninsured and want Depo-Provera, or if for any other reason you are paying cash, or a percentage of the price as co-insurance, you might be interested in our surveys of self-pay prices for common procedures. We have also discovered prices as low as $20, or even free, if there’s an income test; for many people, all-in prices commonly range up to several hundred dollars, including everything, and the highest price we heard was $715. It all depends on where you go.
Here’s a price list from Dallas-Fort Worth area providers; here’s a price list from Houston area providers. Use our search tools to see Austin and San Antonio providers. Call before you go. Ask how much you will be charged. Take notes. Take names. Take numbers.
Is Depo-Provera covered under the Affordable Care Act?
The answer is yes, but you may find it’s not that easy.
Gretchen Borchelt of the National Women’s Law Center wrote this piece, which we saw on Bedsider: “Plans must cover all FDA-approved birth control methods with no out-of-pocket expense. That includes implants, IUDs, the shot, the pill, the patch, the ring, diaphragms, cervical caps, and sterilization procedures. (Birth control you can buy without a prescription probably won’t be covered under this law.)
“For some types of birth control, there is only one option available in the United States, so plans should cover them; for example, Ortho Evra is the only patch and NuvaRing is the only ring, so they must be covered. But there are many kinds of pills, and many health insurance companies cover only some of them, so which pills are covered without co-pay will vary by plan. …
“At the National Women’s Law Center, we hear from women whose plans are only covering the pill, but not the ring or the patch. Other women have been told that only generic brands are covered…. Health plans have been given some leeway to determine what is covered, but they should not be able to stop you from getting the birth control that is right for you.
“The bottom line is that you have to call your insurance plan to find out whether your particular birth control is covered without out-of-pocket expenses. Here’s a guide to what to ask the human you eventually get on the phone, and what their answers mean for you.”
Not sure which one is right for you? Birth control is a personal decision. Money also matters, and other issues — protection from STD’s, side effects and so on. Here’s a handy chart from Bedsider, giving you the lay of the land.
The takeaway: Questions to ask
As we always say, know before you go. Questions to ask:
- Will I need to bring the medication, or do you supply it?
- If I need to bring it, where would I find it?
- Is this covered by insurance? (if applicable)
- How much will this cost? How much will this cost me?
- Do you have a sliding scale based on income?
- Are there insertion fees?
- Are there other fees or charges?
- What else do I need to know?