January 12, 2015 — More women are using intrauterine devices and other long-acting reversible contraceptives, although use of the methods continues to lag behind that of other contraceptives, according to a Guttmacher Institute analysis of federal data, Kaiser Health News' "Insuring Your Health" reports.
For the analysis, Guttmacher researchers examined data from the federal National Survey of Family Growth.
Looking at data from 2011 to 2013, the analysis found that almost 12% of women who used contraceptives during that time opted for IUDs or hormonal implants, making LARC the third most common method of reversible contraceptive. By contrast, 26% of women used birth control pills, the most popular option, and 15% used condoms.
The analysis also found that use of LARC steadily increased from 2.4% in 2002 to 8.5% in 2009.
Growth of LARC Use Expected To Continue
Megan Kavanaugh, a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, said experts believe LARC use will continue to increase under the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) contraceptive coverage rules, which require most health plans to cover all FDA approved contraceptives. She noted that because the mandate took effect in 2013, it likely did not have an effect on the study's findings.
According to "Insuring Your Health," LARCs are considered one of the most effective methods of contraception because they do not require women to remember to use them. However, women have often opted for shorter-term contraceptives because of LARC's high up-front costs (Andrews, "Insuring Your Health," 1/9).