The Recent Election & Contraception Access

Many students are expressing concern about access to reproductive health care, and the potential for changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under the next President. It is not yet known exactly what changes, if any, will be made to the Affordable Care Act, or when. What we do know is that any changes would take time.

With the uncertainty, some students may be interested in obtaining long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). LARCs, including Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs) and Implants, are a highly effective option for birth control. After insertion, LARCs can provide pregnancy prevention for 3-12 years depending on which one you choose. If you have an interest in pursuing a LARC, Health Services can help.

If you have your family’s insurance:

Contact your health insurance provider to understand your coverage. Most insurance plans cover LARCs, however some may not cover all types, as the ACA  requirement is that a health insurer cover at least one of each contraceptive class.  It is also important to find out if the method you are choosing is covered as a medical benefit or a prescription benefit (your prescription benefit provider may be separate than the medical benefit provider). According to the terms of your family insurance plan, you may be able to directly contact a local OB-GYN or Planned Parenthood, or you may need a referral from your primary care provider. Click here for a frequently updated list of local specialists who offer LARCs (Brown log-in required). These providers all accept the Brown student health insurance plan, but, when making an appointment, it is always a good idea to confirm that they take your insurance.

If you would like to discuss your contraceptive options before seeing a specialist in the community, or need help with finding a specialist in the community, you can meet with a provider at Health Services by calling 401.863.3953 for an appointment.  

If you have the Brown Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP):

SHIP covers the full cost for all LARC methods, as long you see an in-network provider. You are still responsible for a $15 office visit copay. You can directly contact a local OB-GYN or Planned Parenthood. Click here for a frequently updated list of local providers who offer LARCs and accept SHIP (Brown log-in required).

If you would like to discuss contraceptive options before seeing a specialist, you can meet with a provider at Health Services by calling 401.863.3953 for an appointment.

LARC options*:

Hormonal IUDs:

There are three hormonal IUDs available in the U.S. All three are made of plastic and release a small amount of the synthetic hormone progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the uterus. Depending what kind you get, hormonal IUDs can last between 3 and 6 years and may make your periods lighter. For many, there may be intermittent spotting in the first year and then no periods after.

Effectiveness: Greater than 99% with perfect or typical use.

Non-hormonal IUDs:

ParaGard is the only non-hormonal IUD available in the U.S. ParaGard is made of plastic and a small amount of natural, safe copper. When people are using ParaGard their periods are more likely to remain regular but can be heavier. ParaGard can work to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.

Effectiveness: Greater than 99% with perfect or typical use


The implant (Nexplanon is the brand name; previously Implanon) is a tiny rod that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It's so small, in fact, most people can't see it once it's inserted—which means it can be your little secret, if you're so inclined. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus—which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It prevents pregnancy for up to four years. Bleeding irregularities are common with Nexplanon.

Effectiveness: Greater than 99% with perfect or typical use.

* Section adapted from

For more information: Call Health Services at 401.863-3953 for an appointment or 401.863-1330 to speak to a nurse.

Last updated 11/29/16.

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