Here's How to Get Birth Control Delivered Right to Your Door
Things have been a little dicey in the world of birth control over the last few years. People are dropping the Pill left and right, and the administration of the last few years has taken plenty of steps that threaten the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate.
But there's some good news: Direct-to-consumer companies are dedicated to making birth control more accessible than ever before. The latest companies, apps, and services even offer birth control delivery so your prescription comes right to your door. No Rx? Most can even help with that, too — a real blessing, considering there's a huge shortage of ob-gyns in the U.S.
Birth control delivery doesn't just exist to make your life easier (because, TBH, the hassle of waiting in line at a pharmacy is a total first-world problem). Millions of women live in contraceptive deserts, according to Power to Decide (a campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy) — meaning they either don't have access to a health care facility or don't have a pharmacy within 60 minutes of their homes. Imagine not only having to make time to hit the pharmacy drive-through between work and other obligations but also having to drive over an hour each way. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made everything — including adequate and accessible reproductive health care — even more complicated. (Just know that if you love your ob-gyn and don't need a new Rx, more and more traditional pharmacies are offering prescriptions by mail as well.)
"In the U.S., about 19 million women live in counties that lack reasonable access to a full range of contraceptives," says Nick Chang, CEO and founder of The Pill Club (more on that below). "Over 80 percent of our members have expressed concern about impaired or limited access to birth control due to financial, geographical, or family constraints. This is evidence of a huge gap today in women's need for birth control and the way in which they obtain it. For a medication that is one of the most important a woman will take in her life, it's surprising how many hurdles she can go through." (Access to birth control is a huge issue outside the United States, too.)
Three cheers for accessible birth control! (And all the things it does for your body besides preventing unwanted pregnancy — like lowering your risk of ovarian cancer and reducing female athlete knee injuries.) Want in? Here are some birth control delivery services you can trust.
Bedsider.org is an online birth control support network for women ages 18 to 29, operated by Power to Decide. The company offers a Delivered to Your Door tool that's basically the Seamless of contraception. You plug in your zip code, city, or state to instantly see a list of services that can deliver birth control and emergency contraception directly to your door. That's right — no more missing a pill because you couldn't get to the pharmacy before closing time, having anxiety about the store clerk judging you for buying Plan B, or freaking out because you'll be out of town when you're supposed to pick up your next pack. (FYI, the site can also help you find a local clinic.)
With this tool, you can find the services that deliver to your area depending on your state's laws, but most allow contraception to be delivered to your home, according to Bedsider. You may be required to speak with a prescriber first (via video chat) or simply complete a short health questionnaire. And more great news: Many of them provide free shipping and accept health insurance, and some even allow users to sign up for automatic refills. (BTW, there's another service that'll deliver condoms, Plan B, and pregnancy tests to you too.)
The Pill Club
The Pill Club is currently the largest online birth control delivery and prescription service in the United States and became the first that delivers to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. They offer more than 120 FDA-approved brands of birth control pills, the ring, emergency contraceptives, and non-hormonal contraceptives (ex: male and female condoms), accept all major prescription insurance plans, and deliver fo free. While they can deliver in all 50 states, they can also prescribe in 43 states (which they're hoping to expand ASAP). You only need to request a prescription by answering a series of basic health questions, on their website. Then, The Pill Club's medical team carefully reviews your profile and prescribes the best birth control option for you. Your prescription (which you initially send in by just snapping a pic) automatically gets filled and sent to you every month (that means no missing a day because you can't get to the pharmacy). Bonus: Each box comes with some bonus goodies every month (think a sweet treat, stickers, and samples from other cool sexual wellness companies).
In addition to offering about 45 brands of birth control pills, the NuvaRing, the patch, the shot, and emergency contraception, Nurx also offers PrEP for HIV prevention, at-home HPV testing, genital and oral herpes treatment, and migraine treatment. They currently only ship to 30 states but offer free delivery and automatic refills. To get a prescription, you can either select the prescription you currently have or get a doctor's advice on which method might work best for you. Then you answer a few health questions, the Nurx medical team reviews your request and health history, and a licensed medical provider will write the prescription. Boom — soon you'll have birth control delivery right at your door. They take most insurance (which should knock your cost per month down to $0) but have the option to pay out of pocket as well. (P.S. Before you start a prescription, read up on the link between blood clots and birth control.)
Twentyeight Health currently offers service only in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida but offers the same benefits as some of the larger services. First, you sign up for Twentyeight Health and fill out a medical questionnaire for a new or renewed prescription. If you want, you can also do a short audio consultation with a doctor for advice. Then a doctor reviews your info to confirm your eligibility and writes you a prescription, and you'll have your birth control delivery (up to 12 packs of birth control per delivery!) within two or three days. They take cash and most insurance, and they offer most BC pill brands. You'll pay $20 for the initial consultation, but then you can pay as low as $0 (with insurance or Medicaid) or $16 (out-of-pocket) per month for your automatic monthly prescription refill and online messaging with Twentyeight Health's doctors. (Don't forget that the IUD is a birth control option, too!)
Fun fact: The co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health is Sophia Yen, M.D., M.P.H., making it the only doctor-led, women-founded, women-led birth control delivery service currently available. It's pretty simple: You either provide your current birth control prescription or doctor's info or fill out a health form (with a $20 fee) and a Pandia Health doctor will review your info and write a prescription for you. In both cases, you'll get free birth control delivery every month, whether it's a pack of pills, a patch, or ring; the cost of the birth control itself is often $0 with most insurance or as low as $15 per pill pack without insurance. Even better? Your delivery always comes with some goodies (think: candy!), too.
Simple Health operates with the same simple system as many of these other birth control delivery options: The Rx is free with most insurance or starts at $15 without; you can have pills, the patch, or a ring prescribed after doing a $20 online consultation if needed; and you get automatic refills (no more worrying about running out) that are shipped free. After your first year (and your initial consultation) it only costs $20 a year to access Simple Health. This includes the ability to message their doctors anytime if you have an issue or question along the way, as well as provides emergency contraception and female condoms (which are hard to find) for free. Another cool thing that sets Simple Health apart: They just launched additional treatment options along with accurate gender identity and pronoun categories for pre-HRT trans men looking to continue or start birth control. Can we get a hurrah for inclusive BC experiences? (Related: Meet FOLX, the TeleHealth Platform Made By Queer People for Queer People)
HeyDoctor isn't just for birth control delivery: They also offer UTI antibiotics and treatment, acne treatment and prevention, STD testing, herpes prescription treatment and refills, acute sinus infection treatment, pregnancy testing, metabolic performance analysis, and HIV testing (and that's not even everything!). For $15, you complete an online visit with a doctor and can get a prescription for any of the many birth control pills offered, the ring, or the patch — no insurance needed. Plus, you can chat with the HeyDoctor medical team anytime. You can opt to have the prescription sent to your local pharmacy or go through a mail-order pharmacy (available in all 50 states) to have it sent right to your door. (Related: 9 Healthy Habits That Will *Actually* Help Prevent UTIs)
The Hers site is so chill and millennial, it'll feel like you're shopping for leggings — not prescription meds. The purchasing process is nearly as simple too: You can choose between 13 different common, generic types of birth control pills (they provide a list comparing the generic names to the brand names — i.e., Ocella is also Yasmin or Zarah), and each one is labeled with some of the benefits it offers along with reduced pregnancy risk (i.e. helps with menstrual headaches, period pain, acne, etc.). They don't take any insurance but instead plans start as low as $12 per month. (Which, honestly, might be worth not dealing with the usual hassle of insurance.) You can either go with a pill you've already been taking or consult with their independent physician for a recommendation, but both require an online medical evaluation and new prescription from a Hers doc. FYI: They don't only deal with birth control. You can also purchase yeast infection treatment, lubes and condoms, cold sore or genital herpes treatment, supplements, prescription skin-care products, hair-care products, mental health prescriptions and therapy, and even at-home COVID-19 tests. Hers products are available in all U.S. states in the U.S., except for their psychiatry department which varies.
In 2018, Amazon purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy startup — but the mega e-retailer just launched Amazon Pharmacy in November 2020, which includes birth control. You can contact your doctor and have them send the prescription to Amazon, or have Amazon contact your doc for you; either way, this isn't the service for people looking for a new Rx or who want the ability to speak to a doctor on the reg (though there is the option to chat with a pharmacist anytime). That said, Amazon Prime members get some extra perks, including the usual unlimited, free two-day delivery. Plus, if you don't have health insurance, it can help you save $$$. Prime members without insurance can use an Amazon Rx savings card at checkout to save up to 40 to 80 percent off medications, according to a press release. (Read more about Amazon Pharmacy and their birth control delivery.)
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