How much did you pay for your IUD? Our crowdsourcing project

IUD cost
- photo by Liz Henry via Flickr

(Updated 2022) Summary: What did you pay for your IUD? An IUD can range from a few hundred dollars to $2,600, according to our price survey. And! If you don’t have an IUD, maybe you want to share a vasectomy price.

In 2014, we launched PriceCheck, our legacy project crowdsourcing health costs. We worked in collaboration with KQED public media in San Francisco and KPCC public media in Los Angeles, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

We have been reporting on the prices of mammograms and the prices of MRI’s in California. Now we’re turning to IUD’s.

If you’re insured, and your insurance covers it entirely, then maybe it’s not important to you to know how much an IUD costs.

But a lot of people are finding that their insurance doesn’t cover the IUD completely — maybe they didn’t meet their deductible and were charged some portion for “preventive” care, or maybe their insurance covers only one type of IUD.

If you’re not insured, then the IUD cost matters a lot. How much will you be asked to pay for your IUD — $500 or $2,600? The price also matters  if your insurance doesn’t cover it, or if, for example, you’re on your parents’ plan and you don’t want to talk to them about your ladybits.

Birth control and the Affordable Care Act

You might be wanting to say that all birth control is covered under the Affordable Care Act. Well, it is — and it isn’t.

For example, plans sold on the health insurance exchanges under the A.C.A. are supposed to cover birth control — which means they should pay for your IUD. On healthcare.gov, it says that exchange plans “must cover the services without charging a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible when they are provided by an in-network provider.” But of course not all plans are A.C.A. plans; they might be “grandfathered,” meaning they were in effect before the A.C.A. and therefore exempt for a certain time. Here’s a bit about the subtleties, from Planned Parenthood.

Plans are allowed to make certain conditions on birth control coverage — for example, they might not cover all brands of birth-control pill. Also, the religious exemption Supreme Court case known as the “Hobby Lobby case” might apply to you, exempting your employer.

We’re interested in knowing what you paid, and also, we’re interested in knowing what providers are getting paid by insurers and individuals for IUD’s. We think cash-pay patients are probably paying more than insurers pay. Our information on this is fragmentary so far.

Audience members filled out our PriceCheck form, telling us the provider, payer, which type of IUD (ParaGard? Mirena? Skyla?), how much they were charged, how much did insurance pay (if applicable) and how much they paid.

What we’ve learned so far

Our community members have told us that they paid vastly different sums. In this blog post, you can read three personal experiences: One woman went through a 5-1/2 month saga, being told she’d pay everything from $0 to $2,600. Another paid basically $0 and spent about an hour making it happen. In preliminary California results, others have told us they paid $0 or $730.

Our blog post on “how much does an IUD cost?” is here. It includes links to other useful references, like our pricing pages, Planned Parenthood references and so on.

A National Women’s Law Center piece we often quote tells how to deal with the issue if you think the IUD should be covered and you’re getting pushback: “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.”

Also, since we don’t want anyone to feel left out, we’re welcoming vasectomy prices as well. Here’s our blog post titled “How much does a vasectomy cost? From $300 to $3,500-plus.”