By: Hillary Schneller, FellowPosted on July 21, 2011 Issues: Health Care

“My IUD is amazing,” my friend Anna recently announced.  Like many women, she was on the pill for a few years, and had a brief affair with the NuvaRing.  Yet, she says, “no matter how responsible I was, and how well I remembered to take the pill at exactly the same time every day, I still had this persistent anxiety that I had somehow messed it up and was going to get pregnant.  Needless to say, I found that stressful.” 
When we think of contraception, we usually think of that famous little pill, the ring, or the patch.  The IUD – a little T-shaped contraceptive device – however, is making a comeback.  There’s nothing to remember to carry, take, put in, or take off.  As Anna exclaimed, “it just makes sense!  It’s there for 5 years and I don’t have to worry about it.”  The IUD also boasts an extremely low failure rate – 1% or less in the first 12 months
While IUDs are a “forgettable” method of contraception, their cost can be anything but.  Some insurance plans don’t cover IUDs or require hefty up-front costs that can reach into the hundreds or thousands.  Cost, however, should be no barrier to care.  And when this cost is eliminated, more women can and do choose the IUD.     

Today, 2.1 million American women use an IUD as their method of contraception – the greatest number in 30 years.  Some women discover the IUD as a welcome last resort after trying other types of contraception; others opt for a non-hormonal “copper T” IUD because they’re allergic to hormonal birth control.  For women experiencing interpersonal or domestic violence, the IUD can be particularly important; it’s one of the few forms of birth control that a partner does not have to know about.     

For all these women, IUDs are an unforgettable preventative service.  And the independent, non-partisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) agreesJoin us to ensure that the IOM’s recommendation that “no-cost birth control” include a full range of contraceptive services so that each woman can choose the method that works best for her.

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