Regular medical needs don’t stop during a pandemic, but being unable to visit a doctor’s office definitely complicates things. While telehealth has changed how some people interact with their primary care physician, for women needing birth control an invasive in-person doctor’s visit is often required. Now a company called Simple Health is providing a solution by offering birth control delivery — sending a six-month supply directly to your door.
Simple Health skips in-person visits by offering private online tools for easy medical consults and ongoing contraceptive access.
“The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping how women access birth control, and it’s time that birth control providers and prescribers change to meet the needs of this new world,” explained Carrie Siu Butt, CEO of Simple Health in a press release. “Visiting a doctor’s office for routine care needs, like birth control, is often medically unnecessary and expensive, especially for routine prescription renewals. In this time of social distancing, when we are trying our best to limit our exposure to the virus, telemedicine is about more than just saving time and reducing costs — it’s about fundamentally disrupting the existing health care framework for the better.”
Six Months at Once
While in-person medical visits are now reserved for the emergency and absolute necessity — and that could continue if a second wave of coronavirus infections hit as medical experts have predicted — birth control renewals can proceed remotely. Simple Health is now offering a six-month supply of medication for preparedness and convenience.
The rub? You’ll have to pay out of pocket, since most US insurance companies (which cover 100% of birth control costs) will only cover a 90-day supply.
Still, the out of pocket costs can be as low as $15/month.
Why Access Is Vital
The COVID-19 pandemic has created massive medical supply disruptions internationally, and birth control access has been hard hit. According to the Associated Press, millions of women cannot get access to birth control, both because of shipping delays and clinic closures. Women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have been impacted because of lockdowns.
Marianne Menjivar, Colombia country director for the International Rescue Committee, told AP News that her group anticipated the difficulties and gave some women a three-month supply of birth control pills.
“Devastating,” she said of the disruption. “Women don’t stop giving birth just because there is a pandemic.”
Minors Can Use Simple Health
Depending on your state, minors as young as 13 may use Simple Health for their birth control needs. This is very convenient, especially for girls dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition often treated with birth control pills.
Ashley Prescott, Simple Health Director of Retention Marketing tells Parentology that minors do not need parental consent, and that Simple Health has discreet packaging and even delivers to PO Boxes. “We work to remove as many friction points as possible for young patients,” she explains.
Simple Health has also offered its patients relief and relocation for financial hardship, issuing free replacement orders and waiving fees for patients who lost income in the crisis.
Simple Health’s Process
The birth control delivery setup is pretty easy.
- Fill out a medical history form and include your preferences for birth control (Simple Health offers the pill, patch, or ring).
- Pay an annual fee of $20 to cover the consultation.
- Add insurance information or pay for your contraception out of pocket.
After that, you simply get your birth control delivered. An added plus: Simple Health takes care of renewing your prescriptions, so you’ll never have a disruption in your supply.
Need emergency birth control or a female condom? If you’re using insurance, those methods are available for free.
And if there’s questions, side effects, or your needs change, that can all be addressed.
“Although it’s often presented as such, birth control is definitely not one size fits all, so one of the pillars of our service is our Complete Care Promise,” says Prescott. “Patients can come back to us at any point during their prescription period (typically a year), and we’ll connect them with a doctor so they can get answers to their side effect questions — or any questions — or be re-evaluated for a new prescription. This is all free of additional cost.”