Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
Nexplanon (Etonogestrel) is a long-term birth control option that is implanted under the skin of the upper arm. Once implanted it is good for up to 3 years to prevent pregnancy. The implant it very effective at preventing pregnancy over 99% of the time.
How can you get a Nexplanon implant?
After the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) most health insurance plans must cover birth control. They were also required to cover these with no out of pocket costs such as copays or deductibles.
Your insurance plan does not have to cover all brands and types of birth control. Nexplanon is not available generically. That being said, the drug is quite expensive at a price tag of $1300 for a 3 month implant according to GoodRx. Therefore, your insurance may cover other birth control methods instead of Nexplanon, but it is always a good idea to check.
How long is it good for?
Nexplanon is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years. There have been studies that suggest it may last up to 5 years. You should discuss how long to leave Nexplanon inserted with your doctor.
For much more in depth information check out surprising facts every woman should know about Nexplanon cost
Can you get Nexplanon removed early?
Nexplanon can be removed at any time after it is inserted. Women who have issues with side effects such as cramping or bleeding may want it removed before the three years is up.
Removing it too early isn’t really a concern. Most doctors would want you to ensure you give it an adequate trial before having it removed. Many of the side effects will improve over time. However, if you had bad reactions to other progestin only birth control options in the past you may want to think twice before you have Nexplanon implanted.
The cost of the implant plus the fact that it requires a minor surgical procedure to insert and remove make it more cumbersome to stop than taking pills by mouth.
Typical range for implant removal is between $0 for some health insurance plans to $500 if you paid out of pocket.
Prices will vary depending on what area you live in and what type of doctor you are seeing.
A company called MDsave lets you compare costs of medical procedures in your local area. Just type in your zip code along with the procedure you are interested in and it will search prices for you.
They show you prices for the procedure you are looking for from doctors that have offered to share pricing with MDsave. This is a great way to quickly check to see how much Nexplanon removal might cost in your area.
MDsave claims the national average is $470, but the range for the network of doctors they work with is $220 to $282.
If you have insurance and you used it when Nexplanon was inserted then you will probably follow the same path for the removal procedure.
Here are a few steps that will help determine what removal cost with insurance will be.
Medical or pharmacy benefit?
Nexplanon removal might be covered under your medical benefit instead of the pharmacy benefit because it is a procedure and the drug has already been paid for.
Call to confirm
Call the number listed on the back of your medical insurance card. These are the representatives who can confirm coverage and pricing specifically for you.
Make sure you emphasize to the agent that this is to get Nexplanon removed not a new implant inserted!
Out of pocket
Confirm if there is any copay, coinsurance or remaining deductible amount that you will be responsible to pay. Knowing this ahead of time can prevent the office from inadvertently trying to collect money you do not owe.
Provide you proof
Ask if the agent you speak to can provide you information showing this process is covered. Your doctor may want to have the coverage in writing to know if they will get paid. If the agent can’t give you written confirmation, get the name or operator number of the person you talked to.
Some procedures may require prior authorization. For Nexplanon removal this would typically only occur if you wanted the implant to be removed early.
If you have no insurance, there are options that can help reduce the cost of Nexplanon and it’s removal.
This is where Title X clinics come in. These Title X clinics receive federal grant funding and are dedicated solely to family planning for preventative health services. As a result, they will offer pricing that is based on your income.
Is Nexplanon removal painful?
The procedure to remove Nexplanon is similar to the one for insertion. A shot of a numbing agent such as lidocaine will be given under the skin. Once the area is sufficiently numb, an incision is made to remove the small implant.
The process typically takes longer than insertion because they doctor will have to locate the implant before numbing. In addition, once the incision is made they may have to search to find the implant.
A small pinch
Most patients report feeling a small pinch like feeling when the incision is made for Nexplanon removal. It may also sting when the implant is being removed. The amount of pain sensation felt is usually dependent on how numb the area was before the incision is made.
What are the side effects of removing Nexplanon?
The removal of Nexplanon does not have any direct side effects. However, due to the effects the progestin hormone can have on the body removing it can cause:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Depressed mood
Most of these effects would be short lived and due to the quick drop in levels of progestin in the blood.
Newly developed issues that arise after removal should be discussed with your doctor if they last longer than a few days.
One obvious side effect of having birth control removed is you are no longer preventing pregnancy. As soon as the implant is removed alternative birth control methods should be used to protect from pregnancy.
Click here for more information on weight gain statistics for Nexplanon.