Hormonal birth control medications like Nexplanon are popular choices for women interested in preventing pregnancy and regulating their menstrual cycles.
Understanding Common Types of Hormonal Birth Control
Although there are several different forms of hormonal birth control, they all function according to a similar principle. By releasing a synthetic version of hormones that naturally occur within a woman’s body, these medications can prevent ovulation, and therefore pregnancy, with a high degree of reliability.
Common types of hormonal birth control include:
- Pills. Birth control pills may be taken every day of the month or for a certain set of weeks each month in order to be effective. Some pills use a combination of estrogen and progesterone while others use only progesterone.
- Patches. A thin adhesive patch that administers hormones while being on the skin for the prescribed amount of time.
- Implants. These small objects are placed just beneath the skin and release hormones slowly over a long period of time.
- Injections. Birth control injections are typically administered every three to six months depending on the specific brand. A doctor or nurse administers these injections.
Nexplanon is a thin, matchstick-like implant that slowly releases the progesterone hormone into a woman’s body over the course of three years. It should be removed and replaced every three years. The procedure is considered safe and effective for most women and is performed as an outpatient procedure.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Nexplanon
All hormonal birth control methods carry similar risks, especially when used by women over the age of 35 or women with excessive weight gain. These risks can include an increased chance of developing blood clots, mood swings, acne and headaches.
Common side effects reported with the use of Nexplanon include fluctuations in a woman’s menstrual cycle that may make the cycle longer or shorter. Some women have reported missing cycles or spotting between cycles. While Nexplanon is considered to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, any woman who becomes pregnant with the implant in place should inform her doctor immediately in order to confirm the pregnancy is not ectopic (occurring outside of the womb).
Other medical conditions or medications may interact with Nexplanon and negatively impact its effectiveness. Your doctor should be aware of all diagnoses and medications in order to help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing which hormonal birth control is right for you.
Medicare Coverage for Nexplanon
Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) or Part B (medical insurance) are not obligated by federal law to provide contraceptives like Nexplanon to recipients. It may be possible to receive coverage of this medication through a Medicare Advantage Plan, which offers enhanced Medicare benefits to enrollees. These additional benefits are determined by each plan’s private insurer, however, so enrollees must consult with a representative of that plan to confirm availability of services like these.
Women of childbearing age who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid services may have more options available to them through Medicaid’s coverage terms. Eligibility for Medicaid and the scope of medications and procedures it covers is governed jointly by federal and state law, so Medicare recipients will need to speak to their local agency for more information about coverage for contraceptives and limits to income and assets amounts.