Not only is it convenient, but it's also making birth control accessible to millions of women in contraception deserts.

By Lauren Mazzo
Updated: January 25, 2019
Photo: Megan Madden / Refinery29 for Getty Images

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 current administration (ahem) takes steps every day 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 deliver your prescription right to your door. No prescription? Most can even help with that-a real blessing, considering there's a huge shortage of ob-gyns in the U.S.

This 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.

"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, some birth control delivery services you can trust:

Bedsider

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 BC 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 just became the first that delivers to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. They offer more than 100 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 35 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 woke sexual wellness companies).

Nurx

In addition to offering about 45 brands of birth control pills, the NuvaRing, the patch, and emergency contraception, Nurx also offers PrEP for HIV prevention and at-home HPV testing. They currently only ship to 21 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 BC 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

Twentyeight Health currently offers service only in New York and New Jersey but offers the same benefits as some of the larger services. This is a great option if you're new to BC or between docs since you can't transfer in an existing prescription. First, you sign up for Twentyeight Health and fill out a medical questionnaire. 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 delivered to your door 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 $18 (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.)

HeyDoctor

HeyDoctor isn't just for birth control: They also offer UTI antibiotics and treatment, acne treatment and prevention, STD testing, cold sore 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 14 birth control pills offered, the ring, or the patch-no insurance needed. Plus, you can chat with the HeyDoctor medical team anytime. The downsides: They're only available in 24 states (check with their team to see if HeyDoctor is available where you live) and you have to go through another mail-order pharmacy to get the prescription delivered to your door. You have the option of picking it up at a pharmacy IRL too. (Related: 9 Healthy Habits That Will *Actually* Help Prevent UTIs)

Hers

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: for $30, you can choose between 10 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.) They don't take any insurance but instead charge a flat rate of $30 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 Addyi (their name for 100mg tablets flibanserin, which treat female hypoactive sexual desire disorder), prescription skin-care products, and hair-care products. Hers products available in most-but not all-states in the U.S., and the availability varies depending on what you're ordering. (Check their full list here.)

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Comments (1)

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