Oral contraception has been a symbol of female independence since the ‘60s and remains the most widely used form of contraception to this day. With sustained efforts to educate and advance the public’s collective knowledge about fertility science over the last 50 years, the US boasts up to 60% of women of reproductive age now using some form of birth control to avoid pregnancy.
That’s because modern birth control is remarkably reliable. According to the National Health Service, contraceptive birth control tablets are 99% effective when used correctly, making them, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular go-to for pregnancy prevention.
New telemedicine services have made it easier than ever to get high quality birth control online, increasing access to both pills, as well as alternative methods such as the ring, patch, and shot via patient-centric digital platforms.
In this article we’ll review three of the most popular platforms that set the bar high for getting birth control online: NURX vs SimpleHealth vs Wisp. Our goal is to help you understand each service’s nuances, benefits, pricing, menu of BC brands, and delivery details, ultimately so you can decide which is best for you. Before we review these three services, let’s discuss what it’s like to get BC online in general.
What kind of birth control can you get online?
There is an extremely wide range of birth control available via online health services. Here’s a run-down of the most popular types.
1. Birth control pills
Orally administered contraceptives are pills that include hormones (estrogen and progestin) that regulate uterine and ovarian function to prevent conception. These pills are normally sold in packets of 21 or 28 days and are taken once a day. When used diligently, they are one of the safest ways of birth control. They both directly and indirectly hinder sperm from fertilizing the egg.
Oral contraception is generally recommended for younger sexually active people who wish to manage their reproductive lives on their own terms.
Oral contraceptives are also used to treat a variety of conditions beyond just preventing pregnancy. Many women take birth control pills for:
- Ovarian or breast cysts
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Premenstrual pain and excessive bleeding
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
As we mentioned before, birth control tablets are – for the most part – extremely safe. Oral contraceptives have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both birth control and the additional conditions listed above.
Before beginning any therapies, however, you should always consult with a medical practitioner so that you are aware of any dangers or side effects that may occur. Many women also find it helpful to consult with a doctor when adjusting their birth control (dosage or formula).
2. Contraceptive patches
A patch is an alternative method of birth control. Contraceptive patches stick to the skin and slowly release hormones into your body. The patch is replaced weekly. After 3 weeks, you take a 1 week break for your period. They are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
You can even bathe, swim, and play sports while wearing your patch.
3. Vaginal rings
Vaginal ring is a flexible plastic ring designed to sit comfortably in the vagina. Over a three-week period, the ring releases contraceptive hormones. For the fourth week, the ring is removed to allow for a menstrual cycle.
This approach, like patches, is preferred by some women because it does not require daily application, and works just as well in preventing pregnancy.
4. Contraceptive shot
The contraceptive injection delivers the progesterone hormone, and the most commonly used is Depo-Provera. It is typically administered every 13 weeks. It is used by women who find it difficult to remember to take a pill, are breastfeeding, or cannot use an estrogen-containing contraceptive technique.
Are there any risks and side effects of hormonal contraception?
Hormonal contraception, like any other drug, carries inherent risks. Side effects vary from person to person, which is why it is critical to consult with a medical practitioner before trying any method.
Among the most common adverse effects are:
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Bloating or nausea
- Enlarged and tender breasts
- Weight gain
These side effects usually go away on their own, but you should consult a doctor if they persist. It could be best for you to try a different product or method of birth control.
Why get birth control online?
While consulting a medical professional is always advised, ordering birth control online is more straightforward and less expensive than visiting a regular doctor or a planned parenthood office in person. Your online doctor will make the same recommendations based on your medical history as you would at an in-person examination, and you will always get to choose which birth control to take. Here are some reasons so many women prefer to buy BC online these days:
Lower cost: By combining brand-name birth control with generically accessible prescriptions, you always pay the lowest possible price online.
More privacy: Getting birth control for the first time can be daunting. Intimate conversations – even with a trusted physician – make many feel embarrassed. Ordering your birth control online virtually removes the need for 1-1 interrogation which so many dread. Online birth control providers thus make the experience as painless as possible for those who might otherwise drag their feet.
Free delivery: Once you and your doctor have decided on the best oral birth control method for you, you will get your prescription in the mail for free with most online brands.
Easy refills: Every birth control option offered by most online brands comes with a regular 90-day (3-month) supply, ensuring that you always have your prescription on hand before it runs out. Plus, they renew and send your prescription automatically before you run out.
When evaluating birth control services online, always look for companies that offer transparency about their services and the medical professionals who provide them, including their complete names and specialties. Also, look at customer testimonials to make sure most customers are happy. Let’s do the same as we look deeper at NURX, SimpleHealth, and Wisp.
If you are looking for more of a telemedicine platform or want to learn more about it, check out our review on Sesame Care, a direct-to-patient platform.
NURX vs SimpleHealth vs Wisp: how do these online birth control services compare?
So, what are the differences between online birth control providers NURX, Wisp, and SimpleHealth? We’ve broken everything down for you in one simple comparison chart.
Online Birth Control Prescription Comparison:NURX vs SimpleHealth vs Wisp
|Reviews||4.8 / 5 |
from 22,021 reviews
|4.59 / 5 |
from 4,312 reviews
|4.7 / 5 |
from 1,071 reviews
|Number of birth control options||50||120||15|
|Availability||30 states||32 states||50 states|
|First month free?||❌||❌||✅|
|Lowest price with insurance||$0 + CoPay||$0 + CoPay||❌ Doesn’t accept insurance|
|Lowest price without Insurance||$15 per month||$15 per month||$5 per month|
|Shipping time||3-5 business days for home delivery||4-7 business days for home delivery||3-5 business days for home delivery|
about 2 hours if picking up from a local pharmacy
|Birth control alternatives?||✅ (Patch, ring, and shot)||✅ (Patch and ring)||❌|
|Access to other sexual health services?||✅||❌||✅|
Review of SimpleHealth for birth control
SimpleHealth is an online birth control prescription service that connects users with an online medical team and mails birth control every month. SimpleHealth makes it easier to choose birth control that works without having to go to the pharmacy repeatedly.
One of the difficulties that many individuals have with birth control methods such as the pill is remembering to refill their prescription on time, as skipping a refill can result in having to restart.
Because SimpleHealth is delivered monthly and eliminates the need to visit the pharmacy, you may rest assured that you will have your contraception option available when you need it.
How does getting birth control online from SimpleHealth work?
SimpleHealth’s online birth control process is very straightforward:
- Complete an online consultation and enter your personal information as well as your medical history to learn about the solutions that are best for you.
- Enter your payment information.
- A doctor will analyse your information and write you a prescription.
- Your birth control is then delivered right to your door, free of charge.
SimpleHealth understands that finding a birth control with benefits that outweigh any potential unwanted side effects can take a few tries.
Thus the company stresses ongoing care, and you can communicate with their virtual healthcare practitioner and customer support on a regular basis to make any necessary changes to your prescription. Furthermore, if you have a problem with any prescribed meds or decide not to continue, the initial consultation charge is refunded.
SimpleHealth’s services are currently available in 32 states, but they are working hard to expand to additional states as soon as possible.
How much does SimpleHealth’s birth control cost?
A SimpleHealth subscription costs $15 each month. You will also have to pay an additional $20 consultation charge, as well as a yearly fee, to access their full range of services listed below:
- You get unrestricted access to doctors, allowing you to ask Simple Health questions regarding your prescription or any adverse effects you may be experiencing.
- You may get on-call health care support by text or email whenever you need it.
- All refills come with free shipping.
- There are no commitments, so you may change or cancel your prescription whenever you choose at no extra expense.
- Annual appointment with a doctor who will recommend and prescribe an effective birth control method for you.
- A 45-day check-in to see if your prescription is still working for you or if any issues need to be addressed.
- Risk-free guarantee: if you do not find a solution that works for you, you will not be charged.
What kind of birth control does SimpleHealth prescribe?
SimpleHealth has an extensive catalog of contraceptives, with more than 120 brand-name and generic references, including ring, patch and pill. This means you’ll likely find one that works best for you.
The medical team can also assist you in determining which one is best for you based on your lifestyle and needs.
In general, the patch and ring methods are good solutions for people who don’t want to take a tablet every day because they can be worn for three weeks straight, whereas the pill must be taken daily. But in the end, it all boils down to your preference.
SimpleHealth also offers women’s reproductive health supplements. This service includes a monthly shipment of a probiotic, a urinary tract vitamin, and a multivitamin, with a 30-day supply available.
PROs of SimpleHealth birth control services
- They offer a 45-day check-in to make sure your prescription still works well for you
- They will refund the initial consultation fee if you have a problem with the prescription or otherwise decide not to move forward with birth control services.
CONs of SimpleHealth’s birth control
- SimpleHealth’s annual fee is somewhat high compared to market prices, amounting to $20 for a yearly subscription.
SimpleHealth was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to birth control regardless of insurance or financial situation.
Suppose you want to simplify your birth control prescription service and have convenient monthly access to contraception without going to the pharmacy. In that case, you should look into SimpleHealth’s comprehensive selection of solutions.
Review of NURX for birth control online
NURX, founded by Dr. Edvard Engesaeth and Hans Gangeskar, is transforming the contraceptive market by making thousands of women’s lives easier thanks to the renowned physicians on staff and range of birth control medications / treatments.
Other services, such as HPV screening, HIV prevention, and emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill, have recently been added to NURX. It has also expanded its product offerings for men, including telemedicine treatments for herpes and other STI tests.
How does NURX work?
NURX’s telemedicine services are designed to be simple and economical. While your needs may necessitate some slight variations, here’s what you’ll do in a nutshell.
- Enter your information: You can choose the medication you want or start from scratch and seek advice from the medical staff if you are unsure about your options. You can select the services you want to use from NURX’s website or app. Then you’ll be asked a few questions about your medical history and, if you have insurance, you’ll be asked to provide it.
You must also complete a comprehensive series of health questions about your medical history in relation to the drug you desire to purchase.
You will also be required to upload a photo ID and supply your name and date of birth before proceeding to payment.
- Pay a consultation fee: Following that, you will pay a $15 consultation charge to have a medical provider evaluate your information. They’ll go over everything and write a medically suitable prescription.
The fee for medical consultation covers:
- an evaluation of a person’s medical history
- requests by state-licensed medical practitioners
- prescriptions, if needed
- personalized treatment plans
- scheduled follow-ups
Last but not least: For a whole year, you will have unfettered access to a NURX medical practitioner. This is a massive benefit if you have any questions about your diagnosis, medications, or aftercare.
- Checkout and delivery: There’s no need to go to the doctor or pharmacist in person; just sit back and relax. Instead, your product will be sent for free and delivered to your door in discreet packaging.
NURX distributes prescription meds from partner pharmacies that are fully certified in their state to dispense prescriptions.
Typically, you will receive your delivery within 3 to 5 business days.
NURX usually gives patients a 3-month supply of drugs and processes refills automatically as scheduled. However, if the person’s insurance only covers one month at a time, it can also send a one-month supply. In these circumstances, there is a $5 processing fee.
NURX is currently available in 30 states, but it is planning to expand its service to more states so that everyone can acquire medication swiftly, discreetly, and affordably regardless of condition.
Does NURX offer any birth control alternatives?
As a hormonal drug, birth control pills can have vastly varying effects on different women. NURX carries over 100 different types of birth control pills, both name-brand and generic. Don’t like the pill? NURX currently offers a good assortment of shots (Depo SubQ Provera), patches (Xulane), and vaginal rings (NuvaRing, Annovera).
If you’re not sure what type of birth control is best for you, NURX’s customer service (provided by accredited nurses) is always available to answer your queries.
One thing to keep in mind is that NURX does not replace your primary care provider. Instead, it aims to help you avoid repeated appointments by providing access to basic birth control in a more accessible manner.
Does NURX accept insurance?
NURX accepts most private insurance plans, including those from Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and United Healthcare, among others.
If you use insurance to pay for NURX prescriptions and tests, you will be liable for any copays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket expenses associated with your specific plan’s level of coverage.
You will always have to pay the $15 consultation cost out of pocket, regardless of insurance. This charge does not include the cost of your medicines. This cost, however, includes unlimited messaging and assistance from the NURX medical team for up to a year, where you may get all of your follow-up questions answered.
NURX’s product pages display both the out-of-pocket cost and the projected insurance cost.
Why get birth control online from NURX?
- NURX is very competitively priced, and the savings are further increased by not needing to physically go in to the doctor.
- Its platform is intuitive and straightforward, making the process of getting high quality birth control online very convenient.
- All packages are shipped discreetly, and customer privacy is respected.
- NURX offers a wide range of birth control services, virt