Paying For It
Paying For It
Teens in North Carolina can get birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other sexual and reproductive health care for free or at very low cost. Whether you have private health insurance, Medicaid, Tricare, or use a free/low-cost program, there are options to help you get the services you need.
If you go to a health department or some Planned Parenthood locations, you can get birth control and STI testing and treatment for free or very low cost. All of these docs are listed in our nifty search tool. With any of these free/low-cost providers, you can get your choice of birth control methods. In most cases, you’ll even have access to highly effective (but often expensive) methods like IUDs and Implants.
Free/low-cost providers are also a great option if you’re worried about your parents finding out through their insurance company. They might also offer a “sliding scale” fee program that lets you pay what you can afford – even if it’s not a lot.
The program that pays for these services is called Title X (aka “Title Ten”). Because you’re a teen and probably don’t have much income, you won’t be charged much (if anything) for these services. Your visit will be completely confidential, and you can get birth control and STI testing and treatment without parent/guardian permission.
You may have to fill out a little extra paperwork and show documentation to receive free/low-cost services. Just ask what you need to bring with you when you make your appointment.
Medicaid covers almost all doctor-provided birth control methods, including the most effective ones like the implant and IUDs, at no cost to you. It also covers HIV testing and some STI tests and treatment. If you have Medicaid and want to use it for birth control or HIV/STI testing, you will need to visit a doc who takes Medicaid (check their website or call and ask – or just head to a health department). You may need to take your Medicaid card or have your Medicaid ID (MID) number with you at your appointment. Many Medicaid providers can also work with you to keep your appointment private. You can ask what kinds of documents you need to take with you when you call to make your appointment. You can also ask about any privacy concerns you have.
Tricare is health insurance for members of the military and their families. Tricare covers almost all doctor-provided birth control methods, including the most effective ones like the implant and IUDs, at no cost to you. You will need to visit a doc who accepts your specific Tricare plan [http://www.tricare.mil/FindDoctor/Appointments.aspx]. You may need to take your Tricare card with you to your appointment. You can ask what kinds of documents you need to take with you when you call to make your appointment.
Private Health Insurance
Health insurance coverage rules can be weird. We’ve put together a quick guide with some solid questions to ask a health care provider and some resources for extra-credit reading. For the most complete answers, call your insurance company or check in with a health center. You might here some elevator music at first, but they’ll get you straightened out in the end.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most insurance plans cover the entire cost of your birth control. Yup. Most plans are required to cover all FDA-approved birth control methods that you get with a prescription or from a doctor’s office (including IUDs, the shot, implants, the pill, the patch, the ring, diaphragms and cervical caps). You might have to pay a co-pay for consultation visits, but the method itself should be free to you. Some insurance plans like older plans, or plans offered through a religious employer, might not cover birth control. If you have one of these plans, you can try visiting your local health department for free/low-cost care. Here’s a great article about health insurance for girls.
Will my parents find out about any of this?
Some teens can talk really openly with their parents about birth control. For others, it’s not so easy. In North Carolina, you have the right to go to a doctor for birth control and STI treatment/testing and some other services without parent/guardian permission. While your doctor can’t legally tell your parents what you discuss in his or her office, your insurance company might send them an “Explanation of Benefits” – a paper that tells them that you went to the doctor and what services you received. Not very private, huh? If you really need a totally private visit, consider visiting a health department for free/low-cost care.
When I visit my doctor, what should I ask?
Be honest with your doctor. Docs are here to help you, and can only do so if you’re as upfront as possible. You won’t embarrass your doctor; we can guarantee that they’ve seen it all. Here are some tips for talking to a medical expert about sexual health.
I’m on my own and need health insurance. Where do I even start?
Most teens can get covered by one of the insurance programs listed above. If you still need to buy your own insurance, the Affordable Care Act is designed to make quality health insurance plans more affordable for more people. Marketplace coverage plans and their costs can vary widely. You can choose to pay a higher premium with lower out-of-pocket costs, or a lower premium with a higher co-pay when you visit the doctor. No matter which you pick, your birth control will most likely be completely covered. And depending on your income and your dependent status, you might qualify for Medicaid. Here’s a great calculator to help you estimate your cost of health insurance.