Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the last year (other than the importance of masks, of course) is that pretty much everything can be done online, from first dates to job interviews to doctors appointments. While some medical stuff requires in-person care, getting a birth-control prescription is not one of them. There are plenty of services out there that make shopping online for birth control as easy as buying a new T-shirt. Below, we’ve outlined the best companies dedicated to providing contraceptives virtually and what you need to know about each. (Many general telehealth providers also have birth-control offerings, which we’ve covered here, but in this piece, we are focusing on brands dedicated to sexual wellness.)
Many follow the same process: You complete an online intake form that is reviewed by a doctor who then recommends and prescribes the right birth control for you. Then it’s shipped directly to your door. Overall, the process is fairly straightforward, but these services aren’t available everywhere, not everyone takes insurance, and the age at which you can be prescribed birth control varies by state law. (This handy map can tell you all about what’s available to minors in your state.) Once you decide to move forward with one of these services, many will ask you for your blood pressure, and most will require a photo of your ID, insurance card, and some form of payment, regardless if your birth control is covered by insurance, so it’s helpful to have all of that on hand. Here’s what else you should know about the six biggest online birth-control services.
What You Need to Know: In addition to primary care, at-home COVID-19 testing, skin and hair supplements, and mental-health services, Hers offers contraceptives. They currently only offer birth control in pill form — no patches or rings — but they clearly list on the site the different prescriptions available and what each prescription can help with (beyond preventing pregnancy), like acne or headaches. Before you consult with a doctor, you’ll need to complete an online form. If you’ve never been on birth control before or you don’t know much about it, some of the questions might feel a little intimidating (for example, the difference between estrogen and progesterone). You’ll also need to know your blood pressure before they prescribe you birth control, so if you don’t have a cuff at home or a reading from a doctor’s visit from the last six months, you can go to your local pharmacy. Based on what you submit, you’ll be presented with a list of options along with their monthly cost, and you can choose how often you want them shipped, though nothing will be sent out until it’s approved by a doctor.
Availability: Hers is available in all 50 states.
What They Offer: The Pill.
Price: Your online doctor’s visit is free, and pricing for the prescriptions starts at $12 a month, but most of the options are priced between $20 and $30.
Insurance: Hers does not accept insurance. (It’s the only option currently on this list that only offers out-of-pocket payment.)
What You Need to Know: Nurx offers a full range of sexual-wellness products, like at home STI and HPV testing, herpes treatment, HIV medication, and birth control. In addition to the Pill, you also have the option of the patch, the ring, and the shot. After filling out an intake form, you’ll be charged $15 for a medical consultation with a doctor who will assess your needs and set you up with the right prescription. This fee also grants you access to Nurx doctors for a year. Again, it’s helpful to have your blood-pressure reading handy, but Nurx won’t ask for your specific numbers, and you can select whether your most recent reading was normal, high, or low. Unlike with Hers, you’ll have options beyond the Pill, including the patch, the ring, and the shot.
Availability: Nurx is currently available in the following states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
What They Offer: The Pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot.
Price: Everyone is charged $15 for the medical consultation up front, and with insurance, most birth-control prescriptions are free. If you don’t have insurance, pricing starts at $15 a month.
Insurance: Nurx accepts insurance everywhere they’re available and Medicaid in Texas, Illinois, and California.
What You Need to Know: Pill Club offers over 100 different types of birth-control pills as well as a hormonal birth-control ring. With insurance, the initial consultation and ongoing care while you have a prescription with them is free. If you’re paying out of pocket, it’s $15 for the whole year. Pill Club also offers other contraceptives, like the ring. If your insurance covers it, Pill Club will also send you a free backup prevention kit along with your birth control, which includes a female condom and emergency contraception.
Availability: Pill Club is available in all 50 states.
What They Offer: The Pill and the ring.
Price: With insurance, the Pill Club consultation is free, as is most of the birth control. Without insurance, packs start at $9 a month.
Insurance: Pill Club accepts insurance and select Medicaid plans.
What You Need to Know: The Pill, the ring, the shot, and the patch are all available through Twentyeight Health. They accept insurance, and their out-of-pocket prescriptions start at $16 a month. They typically charge an annual fee of $20 for the initial evaluation and care through the year, but due to COVID, they’ll waive that cost with the code GIVE28. They also offer a one-time dose of Plan B free with insurance, or $30 without. If you’re concerned about cost, they have a very transparent list of all the birth control they offer and the price with and without insurance for each, so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you complete the intake form.
Availability: Twentyeight Health is currently available in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
What They Offer: The Pill, the ring, the shot, and the patch.
Price: Most birth control is free with insurance; without it, packs start at $16 each.
Insurance: Twentyeight Health accepts insurance, including Medicaid in some states.
What You Need to Know: As the name suggests, SimpleHealth features the most simple intake form of all the options we tried. They still ask all the important questions, but the copy is especially easy to understand. Based on your responses, a doctor will decide the best prescription for you — either the patch, the Pill, or the ring — which comes at the cost of a $20 consultation fee. If covered by insurance, you’ll also get an emergency contraceptive and a female condom with your first delivery. Without insurance, plans start at $15 a month.
Availability: Simple Health is currently available in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
What They Offer: The Pill, the patch, and the ring.
Price: There is a $20 consultation fee, and most prescriptions are free with insurance and start at $15 a month without it.
Insurance: Simple Health accepts insurance and some Medicaid plans.