Contraception Is Free by Law. So Why Are a Quarter of Women Still Paying for It?

In 2015, a study by the National Women’s Law Center, a nonprofit legal organization, found that several insurance companies claimed they were not covering hormonal rings, intrauterine devices or patches because they covered another hormonal method: the birth control pill. That practice was a violation of the mandate and prompted the Obama administration to crack down.

Today, the complaints from consumers are slightly different, said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president of reproductive rights and health at the law center. The group has heard from women whose plans have a “try and fail” caveat, in which patients are expected to try specific products, usually oral contraceptive pills, until those “fail,” before they can get the contraceptive option they want and that their provider recommends for them.


You can also call the National Women’s Law Center hotline, which will help you take a thorough look at your plan to figure out what the problem is, Ms. Borchelt said. Sometimes the hotline is able to help patients obtain reimbursements.


“Public pressure helps a lot,” Ms. Borchelt said.