If you are sexually active, you may be familiar with the concept of emergency contraception (EC). Commonly known as the “morning after pill” or Plan B, EC must be taken within 72 hours of having penis-in-vagina (P-en-V) sex without any form of contraception or with an unsuccessful form of contraception. .
Plan B One-Step is one of EC’s most popular brands. Although it is not the only option, it is widely available.
In this article, we discuss how CE works, where to get it, how much it costs, and more.
Plan B One-Step is a type of EC that must be taken within 72 hours of having sex. It is more effective in preventing pregnancy if you take it early.
EC pills, such as Plan B, are not intended for use as birth control. They are not forms of the abortion pill and they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Using EC will also not affect your ability to get pregnant later.
The goal of Plan B is to temporarily delay ovulation. This is similar to how birth control pills work. It delays the release of an egg from an ovary, so that no egg waits to meet sperm for fertilization.
Plan B is most effective the sooner you take it after sex. According to Planned Parenthood, it can reduce your chances of getting pregnant by 75-89% if taken within the 72-hour window.
Although it can be taken anytime within 5 days of having P-in-V sex, it is best taken within the first 3 days.
It’s also important to know that Plan B may be less effective if you weigh more than 155 pounds or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. You can still take Plan B, but a
We chose the following options to get plan B for different reasons.
First and foremost, we thought it was important that all of the retailers and services on our list were fast and efficient. In addition to being low-key alternatives to buying Plan B at an in-person pharmacy, these options also allow you to stock up in advance and potentially cut costs with insurance or a prescription.
Other factors considered include:
- whether or not they accept the insurance
- Customer service
There are several retailers that allow you to purchase Plan B, including stores and online retailers. However, some of these options do not allow you to enter insurance information, which means you will have to pay a high price.
Although you usually need to request EC from a pharmacy if you buy it in store, you do not need a prescription or ID to obtain Plan B. However, obtaining of a prescription can help you get plan B for less if purchased in person.
Generic versions, like My Choice and New Day, also tend to be cheaper, and you can often find them on telehealth sites, such as Wisp. Other platforms, like Nurx, allow you to purchase it in advance, although this requires a prescription.
Below are our top picks for the best places to get Plan B.
Better if you have insurance
- Cost: free with insurance, $53 without insurance
Through Pandia Health, an online birth control service, Plan B costs $53 per pack without insurance and is free with insurance. It also offers generic brands My Way, AfterPill and EContra EZ.
You will need a prescription to buy it, but you can receive it through the service. If you have an active prescription, you can fill it through the site.
To register and receive a prescription through the platform, you will need to complete an online health form and pay a $20 consultation fee. A doctor will then review your information and Pandia Health will send it straight to your door.
Pandia Health also offers free shipping.
- Cost: $17 for one pill, $30 for two, $40 for three
If you plan to pay out of pocket, Wisp, a telehealth and medication platform, is the best option for stocking up on multiple doses of generic Plan B.
Once ordered, the drug will be delivered within 3-5 days, so it is not a good option for emergencies. Instead, it’s best to order from Wisp if you want to have plan B on hand.
Wisp also offers ella, another form of CE, for same-day delivery, although you’ll need a prescription for that. Note that unlike the other options on our list, Wisp does not provide prescriptions for EC.
Best for Generic Plan B
- Cost: as low as $0 with insurance, as low as $20 without insurance
It’s easy to order New Day, a generic form of Plan B, from Nurx.
The medication management platform accepts various forms of insurance to reduce your cost to $0, although your co-pay will vary depending on your coverage. However, you do not need a prescription to place your order.
The platform also offers free shipping and unlimited messaging for 1 year with approved providers. In some states you may be able to receive next day shipping.
Best Pharmacy Option
Target is an easy option for getting plan B, whether in person or online.
Although you cannot enter insurance information online, you can call your local store to find out if you can get it at no additional cost. However, you will need a prescription from a medical professional.
If you don’t have time for a prescription, you can buy it in store or with same day shipping for a flat rate of around $50.
Deciding where to buy Plan B may depend on your personal situation.
If you’re stocking up in advance, it’s best to do some research to find an affordable option or, if you have insurance, a free option that accepts insurance.
If you need plan B ASAP, you’ll want to go with the fastest option. This can be through an online retailer that offers same-day or same-day shipping, or at a pharmacy or store in person.
If you want to keep it low-key, you might find an online option a better bet.
Like hormonal contraceptives and other medications, Plan B can cause side effects.
Some of the most common include:
- stomach pain
Some people may also experience breast or chest tenderness and menstrual cycle changes, such as heavier, lighter, or irregular bleeding.
Plan B is not the only option for EC. Below are some other options.
Next Choice is a levonorgestrel (progestogen-only) pill, just like Plan B. However, a pack of Next Choice includes one or two pills.
You should take the first pill as soon as possible, within 72 hours of having P-in-V sex, and if the package contains a second pill, it should be taken 12 hours after taking the first pill.
Ella is another EC option. Similar to plan B, this is a single dose pill. However, ella can be taken within 5 days of having P-in-V sex, unlike Plan B, which has a 3-day window. Ella is a form of ulipristal acetate and requires a prescription.
Ella may also be a better option if you’re into a larger body. It is found to be more effective than Plan B in people with a BMI over 30.
Paragard is a copper intrauterine device (IUD) that is one of the most effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods.
Not only can it be used for up to 10 years, but it can also be used as a method of EC if inserted within 5 days of P-in-V intercourse.
It is also more effective than Plan B, reducing the risk of pregnancy by 99% whether used as EC or as a contraceptive.
Take Action is a generic form of Levonorgestrel EC that is just as effective as Plan B. The only real difference is that Take Action is slightly cheaper, as is most generic versions of any drug.
If you took Plan B on time and have not had your period within 3 weeks of having P-in-V sex, you should take a home pregnancy test. You should also see a doctor to confirm if you are pregnant.
Do you need ID to purchase plan B?
Since Plan B has no age limit on who can buy it, you don’t need to show ID to get it.
Can you buy Plan B over the counter?
Plan B has been available to people of all ages since 2013. In many cases, you will still need to ask for it over the counter at a pharmacy.
Although not required, having a prescription can help get it covered by insurance.
Can you get Plan B for free without insurance?
You can often get Plan B for free if you’re on Medicaid. Additionally, you may also be able to get it for free at Planned Parenthood or other low-cost healthcare clinics in your area.
There are many different options when it comes to getting Plan B or other forms of CE. Many retailers offer them at a relatively low cost, with or without insurance.
By researching your options and educating yourself on how to take it correctly, you can ensure that you give yourself the best chance of effectiveness.
Emilia Benton is a freelance writer and editor based in Houston, Texas. She is also a nine-time marathon runner, avid baker and frequent traveler.