ACCESS to Birth Control and Emergency Contraception

With the Massachusetts law called ACCESS, learn how you may be able to get a year’s supply of prescription birth control and emergency contraception at no cost.

Table of Contents

Learn about the ACCESS law

Birth control supply

  • ACCESS, a Massachusetts law, means eligible people can get a year’s supply of prescription birth control at no cost with one trip to the pharmacy.
    • The law covers a year’s supply of the pill, patches, rings, or injectable birth control.
    • Most types of birth control are covered under this law at no cost, except for male condoms and vasectomies (male sterilization). The year’s supply does not apply to the types of contraception that last for long periods of time, like IUDs or implantable rods.
  • To be eligible, you must be covered by certain kinds of health insurance plans, including MassHealth, plans purchased on the MA Health Connector, or the MA Group Insurance Commission.
    • If you are starting a new prescription birth control, you must complete a three-month trial before receiving a year's supply.

This law is meant to make it easier for you to get birth control. Things get busy, jobs change, and life happens—it’s good to have your birth control medications on hand.

Emergency contraception

  • According to the ACCESS law, you can get emergency contraception at no cost if you are on an eligible health insurance plan.
  • Because of a statewide standing order, you can either go directly to your pharmacist or get a prescription from your clinician in order to get emergency contraception at no cost.
  • Emergency contraception can help keep you from getting pregnant after unprotected sex. This law makes it available at no cost with a prescription. You can get a prescription to keep on hand just in case.
    • Both emergency contraception pills such as levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step®), and ulipristal acetate (ella®) are included.

Note: If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance doesn’t cover emergency contraception, Plan B One-Step® is available for a cost, typically about $50.

Find out if you are covered

To be eligible for the year’s supply of prescription birth control or prescription emergency contraception at no cost, you must be covered by a health insurance plan subject to Massachusetts law. This includes fully insured health insurance plans, like MassHealth and those purchased on the MA Health Connector. People who purchased health insurance plans through the MA Group Insurance Commission (GIC) are also covered.

For people who are on health insurance plans not listed above, find out if you are covered by a fully insured health insurance plan by:

  1. talking to your employee benefits administrator or human resources (HR) person; or
  2. calling the number on your health plan card or submitting an online request and asking the health plan member service person.
Ask:  Is my health insurance plan fully insured?

You can ask the following question: “I am trying to find out if my health insurance is a fully insured plan, which means it is subject to Massachusetts law. Are you able to tell me if my plan is fully insured? Or, is it a self-funded plan?”

If you have problems with your health insurance and you are certain it is a fully insured plan, contact your employer to let them know and/or notify the following department depending on your health insurance plan:

  • For MassHealth members: (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648  
  • For Group Insurance Commission (GIC) members: (617) 727-2310. If you are a GIC member and experience difficulty at the at the pharmacy, call (855) 283-7679
  • For private insurance members: Kevin Beagan, Deputy Commissioner, Massachusetts Division of Insurance;

Talk to your clinician or pharmacist

Some clinicians and pharmacists do not know about the ACCESS law. Once you find out if you are covered by your health insurance plan, use our talking points to start the conversation with your clinician and pharmacist.

More resources for care:

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