Demand for IUDs is way up, but for a not-so-great reason

After the election the demand for intrauterine devices (IUDs) has increased significantly. According to athenainsight, between October 2016 and January 2017, patient visits that were labeled as management or insertion of an IUD rose by 21 percent.

And research suggests that this trend has continued into the new year. Between January 2016 and January 2017, data shows the number of visits for IUD procedures increased by 30 percent. We’re glad that more people are protecting themselves, but this increase is not for a great reason.

The visits for IUDs are on the rise because of the uncertainty around the future of birth control coverage.

If the ACA is repealed, there might not be a mandate free insurance coverage. And copays could make birth control too expensive for a lot of people. That means people are rushing to get longterm birth control before they no longer can afford it.

"This is about people's fears about the contraceptive mandate going away," Eve Espey, M.D., said to athenainsight. 

Espy sits as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico. She also confirmed that the data reflects trends she has seen at the two clinics where she treats patients.

Without health insurance, birth control is extremely expensive. Even with insurance, birth control pills can be more costly than many budgets can handle. Though IUDs and other long-acting reversible contraceptives can cost a good chunk of money for the initial insertion, they last for multiple years.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly suggests that any replacement for the Affordable Care Act should continue coverage and cost-sharing for FDA-approved contraception. And it definitely makes sense. But we know how volatile politics can be. So it’s important to learn how to protect yourself.

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