Wednesday, November 12, 2014

IUDs from an Insurance Perspective

An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small, plastic T-shaped device used to provide safe, continuously effective birth control.

The IUD is inserted by your doctor and will last years with no additional maintenance. If you are considering using one, here are some facts about IUDs and insurance that you should know.

Types of IUDs

There are currently two main types of IUD on the market today: hormonal and non-hormonal. Both types prevent pregnancy by causing the cervical mucus to become thicker, so that sperm cannot reach the egg.

The hormonal type, represented by Mirena and Skyla, does this by releasing small amounts of the hormone progestin daily. The progestin may also change the makeup of the lining of the uterus, so implantation of a fertilized egg cannot take place.

The non-hormonal type does the job through a copper wire, wrapped around the T.  Copper ions leaching into cervical fluids act as a spermicide, limiting sperm movement and fertilization.

Copper IUDs may also immobilize sperm as it travels to the fallopian tubes.


Cost of an IUD

The cost of an IUD, including doctor visits, insertion, and follow-up, will usually run between $500 and $1000. You’ll have to pay this cost up front, at insertion. However, because a hormonal IUD can last five or more years and a non-hormonal IUD may remain effective for more than 10 years, it is still a more cost-effective option than other forms of birth control.

Also, the up-front cost is basically all you have to pay. There are no maintenance costs, no ongoing payments to make, and you can have it taken out at a regular OB/GYN appointment. Because of this, many insurance companies will not balk at covering the costs.


Insurance Coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, IUDs, along with sterilization procedures, are completely covered with no co-pays required. More than 100 health insurance providers now completely cover the costs you incur when having an IUD inserted and/or removed. However, you will want to check with your own health insurance to verify your benefits before you make a final decision.

From an insurance perspective, an IUD is a smart choice for most women because it is effective at preventing pregnancy - which comes with its own costs and benefits - and it’s cheaper than other forms of birth control over the long run.

Ultimately, you should talk with your OB/GYN, Dr. Laura Tsakiris, in order to determine whether an IUD is the right option for you. Once you have discussed it with a medical practitioner, you should find out if your insurance will cover it, or consider how willing you are to cover your own costs.

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