Women Saw Large Decrease In Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Contraceptives After ACA Mandate Removed Cost Sharing

Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Jul;34(7):1204-11. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0127.


The Affordable Care Act mandates that private health insurance plans cover prescription contraceptives with no consumer cost sharing. The positive financial impact of this new provision on consumers who purchase contraceptives could be substantial, but it has not yet been estimated. Using a large administrative claims data set from a national insurer, we estimated out-of-pocket spending before and after the mandate. We found that mean and median per prescription out-of-pocket expenses have decreased for almost all reversible contraceptive methods on the market. The average percentages of out-of-pocket spending for oral contraceptive pill prescriptions and intrauterine device insertions by women using those methods both dropped by 20 percentage points after implementation of the ACA mandate. We estimated average out-of-pocket savings per contraceptive user to be $248 for the intrauterine device and $255 annually for the oral contraceptive pill. Our results suggest that the mandate has led to large reductions in total out-of-pocket spending on contraceptives and that these price changes are likely to be salient for women with private health insurance.

Keywords: Health Reform; Health Spending; Insurance Coverage < Insurance.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Claims, Healthcare
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents / economics*
  • Cost Sharing*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / economics*
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents