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Getting a hold of the pill or other birth control options can be tricky if you live outside of a big city. It can also be a hassle to try to fit a doctor’s appointment into your busy sched if all you need is a simple scrip. But thanks to the Interwebs, it’s now easier than ever to get your hands on contraception and even talk with a doc online.
Below, we go into some of the best online spots to snag birth control and provide tips on choosing the best option for you.
You can grab a pack of condoms while buying a Slurpee and a scratch ticket, but other (more effective) forms of birth control have historically been more annoying to get hold of. That’s because you need a prescription for birth control, so you gotta see a doc to get one. 😒
But with advances in telehealth, it’s become easier than ever to access healthcare services online, and that includes birth control.
But how can you make an informed decision on which provider to go with? Here’s the criteria we used when picking the best of the best:
- Good reviews. For starters, we looked at reviews of the platform. When it comes to birth control and any other medication, on time delivery is vital and the reviews can help key you into the types of experiences people have had.
- Available products and guidance. If you’re already on birth control, does the provider offer the same product via its platform? If not, is someone available to help you pick another option?
- Follow up care and support. How much support will you have after getting your new Rx? Is it easy to book a follow-up? Starting birth control or a new type of birth control can cause side effects. You might have questions about your reproductive or sexual health. A quality platform should make it easy to chat with a doc or other healthcare professional about your treatment plan and concerns you may have — whether that’s through virtual follow-ups or live chats.
- Pricing: $25 for a consult, $15+ for home delivery of birth control pills
- Types of birth control: pills, birth control patch, birth control ring
- Insurance info: accepts insurance
Lemonaid is a telehealth company that offers a wide range of services, including birth control subscriptions. Getting birth control from Lemonaid starts with filling out a health form (make sure to have a recent blood pressure measurement on hand). After you fill out the form, it takes about a day to hear back from a health professional. Depending on where you live, you may need to do a phone or video chat.
Prescriptions from Lemonaid are usually for up to 12 months, and you can get 3 packs delivered at once. Shipping is free, and you can expect birth control at your door within 2 to 3 business days. You can also have your birth control delivered to your nearest pharmacy.
Lemonaid is our winner for best overall online birth control provider because it’s got tons of rave reviews. The company also offers other health services, including help with UTIs, genital herpes, and STI testing. The biggest drawback is that you’ll need to pay $25 for a consult, and it’s not covered even if you have insurance.
- Pricing: $20 a year for “Complete Care” that includes an annual consult, unlimited doctor access, free shipping, access to emergency contraception and female condoms, and free prescription changes; $8+ for birth control pill packs without insurance
- Types of birth control: pills, birth control patch and ring, emergency contraception, female condoms
- Insurance info: accepts most insurance plans and Medicaid
To get started, you’ll need to share your medical history. A doctor will review it and prescribe a birth control option that fits your needs. SimpleHealth is uber convenient because you don’t have to manually refill your prescription every month — the company will automatically send you refills at the right time. No missed pills here! 🙌
Once a doc sends you your prescription, you’ll have the option to cancel if your insurance doesn’t cover it, it’s not the right price, or you change your mind. If all looks fine and dandy and you move forward with the option they recommend, your prescription will last 12 months. And if you ever have any questions, you can shoot the company’s care team a message.
The only downside? It’s not available in all 50 states. Agh!
Best for using insurance
- Pricing: $20-$99 for a consult depending on whether you have insurance or not, $18+ for a pack of pills
- Types of birth control: pills
- Insurance info: PlushCare has an insurance checker to check your coverage
Got insurance? Great! Except… insurance is so freaking confusing. Calling your insurance provider can get you some answers, but you’re likely to end up on hold, and who wants to waste precious time listening to awful hold music?
PlushCare’s insurance checker makes it easy to find the lowest cost option that works with your insurance. PlushCare works with the following providers:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Meritain Health
- UMR (United Medical Resources)
- United Healthcare
After booking an appointment, you’ll need to fill out a questionnaire before your virtual phone or video visit with a doctor. Once you get your prescription, you have unlimited access to messaging with the doc that gave you your scrip (woot!).
Without insurance, birth control starts at $18 a month. Also keep in mind that PlushCare doesn’t ship medications directly to your door — it instead sends the prescription to your pharmacy.
Best without insurance
- Pricing: $15 consult, $15+ for a pack of pills
- Types of birth control: pills, patch, ring, emergency contraception
- Insurance info: accepts some insurance
Alpha is a telehealth company that offers online medical visits, mental health services, and birth control. There’s a low cost one-time $15 consult fee, regardless of whether or not you have insurance. Pill packs start at $15 for people without insurance. And shipping is freeee.
To get a prescription, you’ll need to fill out an online form. A provider will look over your answers and get back to you with a response in up to 24 hours. You can expect to get your birth control within a week and all of your refills are automatic. The company also offers an at-home home STI testing kit and nonprescription health-related products like skin care, pregnancy tests, and sleep aids.
The biggest bummer is that it’s not available in all 50 states and the company doesn’t accept all insurance plans.
Best for varied service options
- Pricing: $59 for a consult with no insurance. Cost varies depending on birth control and insurance coverage
- Types of birth control: pills, patch, ring, emergency contraception
- Insurance info: accepts insurance but check with your provider for details
Virtuwell is a telehealth company that offers a bunch of service options. You can get birth control via the platform, but you can also talk with a doctor about other health issues like that painful ear infection, stubborn acne troubles, or concerns about STIs.
You don’t need to make an appointment to get an Rx — you’ll just have to answer all the usual Qs about your health, and a board-certified nurse practitioner will review your responses and get back to you with a recommendation.
The consult cost is higher than other platforms, but it might be covered by your insurance. Prescriptions are sent to your fave (or nearest) pharmacy. If you’re a birth control noob, you’ll get a 3-month prescription to start. You’ll need to check in before getting a whole 12-month prescription.
Most widely available
- Pricing: free for a consult, pills cost $5+ per month, free month to start
- Types of birth control: pills, emergency contraception
- Insurance info: doesn’t accept insurance
Wisp is available in all 50 states (Yes, even Alaska!). There’s also no charge for a consult, and the first month of pills is FREE. After that, refills start at $5 a month.
In addition to birth control, Wisp also offers STI testing and treatment and treatment for UTIs, bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, and genital herpes. You’ll need to fill out a health questionnaire to get yourself a 3-month prescription. After that, a licensed doc follows up via phone or secure chat. You can pick up your scrip at a local pharmacy or get it shipped directly to your door for free. Bonus: the packaging is discreet and adorbz.
You don’t need health insurance to order from Wisp. And thankfully the service is super affordable. But if you’re planning on using insurance to cover your bc costs, this might not be the service for you.
Most varied generic product options
- Pricing: $15 for a consult and unlimited messaging for a year, $15 per pack of pills
- Types of birth control: pills, patch, ring, shot, emergency contraception
- Insurance info: accepts most insurance
The first step when using Nurx is to choose a medication (you can also get help from a medical provider if you’re overwhelmed and need help deciding). After you input your info, a provider from your state will review your request and get back to you with a prescription. Your prescription is shipped straight to you for free and refills happen automatically.
In addition to well-known brand-name birth control options, Nurx also offers lots of generic choices. You can find a complete list of options here. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for the consult, but it’s only $15 and also gets you access to a year of unlimited messaging with the Nurx medical team.
The bad news is that Nurx isn’t available in all states.
Best low cost monthly plan
- Pricing: free consult, $5 follow-ups, $12+ pill pack subscription
- Types of birth control: pills
- Insurance info: doesn’t accept insurance
We love a basic, no-frills plan that costs as little as $12 a month. Plus shipping with Hers is free. You’ll need to fill out a questionnaire and do an online consultation with a doc, which is also free. After that, follow-ups are $5 a pop. Hers doesn’t accept insurance but strives to offer affordable birth control to those without an insurance plan. You can also purchase other products from Hers, including condoms and lubricants.
What’s the drawback of a low cost plan like this one? If you want face-to-face time with a medical pro, you won’t get it with Hers. BUT you can shoot a message if you have questions or want to change up your prescription.
Here’s what to consider when choosing the best online birth control provider for your needs:
- Birth control types. Not all birth control providers have a huge selection to choose from. If you currently use a specific brand or want to try one that can help manage other symptoms (like PMS, acne, or heavy periods), check the provider’s website to double-check they prescribe it.
- Cost. Duh. This is an obvious one. Not all providers have the same prices, and pricing can vary WIDELY, from cheap low cost pills to expensive name-brand options with express delivery services. Your insurance factors in, too. If you have insurance, you’ll want to go with a provider that accepts it. If you have no insurance, opt for a service with low consultation fees and generic options.
- Delivery. Speaking of delivery… getting birth control at your door is great, but if it doesn’t arrive on time, that’s a problem. Look at reviews to see what other peeps have to say about a company’s delivery performance. Also, is delivery free? And if you’re getting pill packs, can you get several months’ worth at a time?
- Other care. Some online birth control providers have other services available like screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs), and emergency contraception. Others offer broader telehealth services including the ability to see a mental health provider or get a quick consult for a nagging sinus infection.
A note on gynecological care
Here’s the thing, getting birth control online is soooo convenient. BUT that doesn’t mean you should skip regular gyno checkups. Even if you decide to go the online route for birth control, you should still see a doctor or visit a clinic to get regular Pap smears and breast exams. Online telehealth can’t replace physical exams.
The CDC recommends getting a Pap smear starting at the age of 21. With normal results, doctors usually recommend regular screenings every 3 years. After 30, your doctor may recommend an HPV and a Pap test. If they’re both normal, you may only need to go back for another test in 5 years.
If you’re using birth control because you’re sexually active, you might also want to visit a clinic to get tested for STIs. Some telehealth providers offer at-home testing kits, but not all provide treatment — so you might need to visit a doctor anyway depending on your results.
And, if you’re having any weird down-there symptoms that aren’t going away, it’s a good idea to get your vag checked in person.
How much is birth control?
It depends on the type of birth control. Contraceptive pills can cost anywhere between zilch to $50 depending on whether you have insurance or you’re taking a generic or brand-name option.
There’s also the cost of the appointment. If you have health insurance, the telehealth visit may be covered. Always check with your insurance before assuming anything, though.
How can I get birth control without seeing a doctor?
Here’s the deal, you can’t. Unless you want to stick to condoms, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor for pills, the patch, ring, or shot. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to see a doc in person — telehealth is a good option if you’re looking for a way to get prescription birth control without going into a physical doctor’s office.
Is it safe to get birth control online?
Sure. It’s no different than getting a scrip in person. Just don’t forget that you still need routine gyno exams to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
Do I need insurance to get birth control online?
No. Many providers offer birth control online that requires no insurance. But that means you should expect to pay full price. Thankfully, plenty of online birth control providers offer generic options at a more affordable cost.
What kind of birth control can I get online?
Typical forms of birth control available online include:
- the pill (hormonal birth control pills you take every month)
- birth control patch
- birth control ring
- emergency contraception (also known as the morning-after pill)
- female condoms
Where can I get free birth control?
If you have insurance, birth control could be totally covered by your plan depending on the type and brand you end up using.
If you don’t have insurance, you might qualify for Medicaid or other government programs that can help you pay for birth control depending on your income and other eligibility factors (find the full list here). Check your state’s website and look for a provider (like Planned Parenthood and other nonprofit organizations) that accept Medicaid or offers discounts based on income.
The ability to control whether you get pregnant is one of the miracles of modern life. But even in 2022, access to birth control isn’t easy, especially if you live in a rural place or contraceptive desert.
Online options make it a bit easier for people to get access to birth control like the pill. You’ll still need to get a prescription from a doctor, but many only require online questionnaires or telehealth appointments that won’t have you traveling or taking time off work. Just don’t forget that regular in-person gyno visits are still mega important for your sexual and overall health.