In September 2021, Pill Club placed a vending machine shaped like a uterus and full of contraceptive healthcare products (including probiotic vitamins, generic emergency contraceptives, and birth control storage containers) in downtown New York City. This vending machine – what they call the Cuterus – is eye-catching and stirs conversation, but does the company behind the marketing serve the public like it advertises?
Pill Club is an online resource and healthcare provider offering both hormonal and physical birth control with the goals of making contraception easy to access for all and helping people with uteri make informed decisions about their reproductive health. With 48% of childbearing-aged people actively using some form of birth control in 2019, contraception is an important part of contemporary life. We thoroughly tested Pill Club to break down exactly what the service is – and isn’t – good for, so you can find out if Pill Club might be right for your contraceptive needs.
- Offers the most extensive range of birth control pills on the market.
- Costs are some of the lowest on the market from consultation fees to Plan B.
- Hands-off process streamlines ordering birth control.
- Discreet delivery with no indications that the package contains birth control.
- Cute gift boxes shipped with every prescription order include snacks, samples, and art.
- Free shipping in all 50 states.
- Does not offer birth control patches or injections.
- Trends slow when responding to messages, processing medical questionnaires, and delivering packages.
- Inaccessible dashboard and non-interactive website makes it difficult to do a lot of your own research.
We recommend Pill Club. They’re especially useful for women without easy access to reproductive healthcare providers and those looking for the convenience of easily managing their prescriptions online and having them shipped to their door. With shipping available to all 50 states (as long as you meet all local requirements), insurance accepted, standard pricing that’s very low, and a wide range of birth control pill brands, Pill Club aims to make birth control much more accessible. While they have low costs and a huge selection, their hands-off appointment method can prolong wait times at every turn and make it difficult to personalize your medication needs.
Overall Rating: 8.6/10
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers like you make more informed decisions to live healthier lives. We extensively test each health service we review.
Our team has spent over 75 hours testing and researching Pill Club and the comparable services of its competitors in order to give you an unbiased exploration of your at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. Through a thorough and deliberate approach to every product we encounter, we evaluate services based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, this review of Pill Club, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
8.0 / 10
All it takes to get a prescription from Pill Club is a brief form about your medical history. After finishing the form, though, you’re in a waiting game: you aren’t given the prescription immediately, but rather after a licensed doctor looks through your profile and verifies the recommendation. This normally takes about a day to complete, and medication ships a day or two after that (with three to five day shipping) from Pill Club’s personal pharmacy in California. We found that the time to completion varies depending on your medical history; there are some cases where our testers waited three days for a prescription during the medical review.
9.2 / 10
Inexpensive is Pill Club’s middle name. Not only do they take a majority of insurances (except for network health plans like Kaiser), they will also accept both HSA and FSA payments as well as payment out-of-pocket. When you use insurance, there is no consultation fee nor additional charges for prescriptions aside from your copay, which is a rarity for the online birth control game. It costs $15 for the consultation without insurance, which is the least expensive option for birth control online, and their pills start at $6.99 per pack (per month when bought annually) or $10.66 per pack in a three-month supply out-of-pocket. Likewise, the emergency contraception they offer costs less than a third of what competitors charge. Considering many insurance providers have no copay for birth control, you may get your prescription in the mail without having to pay a cent. Plus, all shipping is always free.
9.1 / 10
With over 120 different generic and name-brand birth control pills, Pill Club offers double the options of their most-diverse competitors. These come in all different hormonal makeups, cycle lengths, and brands to best fit your needs, and their focus on pills makes them an expert-level resource in the field. They also offer one birth control ring – Annovera – and generic emergency contraception, though they no longer offer birth control patches. While some competitors may have more methods of treatment, if you’ve already found a birth control pill that works for you, or if you are just starting your birth control journey and don’t know where to start, Pill Club will have something for you.
8.8 / 10
Like an in-person doctor appointment, all of your medical information is private when using Pill Club. The company meets all patient information security practice guidelines for healthcare provider organizations, including HIPAA, industry-standard technology to safeguard the transfer of information between your computers and theirs, and federal-level encryption to prevent hacking. Pill Club also owns, runs, and is exclusively partnered with their licensed pharmacy in California, so none of your personal information leaves Pill Club’s hands. The only exception time your information leaves their service is when you pay, as payments are processed through Stripe, Inc.
Pill Club is cognizant that not everyone who needs birth control has people around them who agree. If you’re concerned about people finding out about your birth control, Pill Club takes the extra steps to walk you through a variety of confidentiality options, including how to request confidential communications from your insurance and how to get your birth control delivered to another address.
8.0 / 10
You can reach customer support through both text and a phone call, as well as through Pill Club’s private messaging service. When texting with customer support, replies start off scripted but quickly become conversational and friendly. Most of our replies came within 24 hours, with the fastest back-and-forth during the late afternoon. 24 hours is nothing compared to the wait time for a response through the private messaging service, which takes three to seven days to get a response. Calls are friendly and informative, but be prepared to wait.
Pill Club was founded in 2016 by Duke University alumni Dr. Nick Chang to expand access to birth control with affirming, affordable, and convenient care. Since then, the company has served over 300,000 patients and has established itself as a major player in online birth control services.
The central focus of Pill Club boils down to women’s empowerment, whether that be through easy access to health care or building self-esteem. This is seen best through their care boxes. Whenever a medication ships from Pill Club’s pharmacy, it’s packaged with a few goodies:
- Medication as prescribed
- A “sweet treat” such as chocolate
- Stickers or an art print
- Samples which vary on the first of every month (past samples include hygiene products and condoms)
There are several other contraceptive products you can purchase through Pill Club at the company’s inexpensive rate. This includes:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Pregnancy tests
- External condoms
- Internal condoms
- Emergency contraception (generic Plan B)
It’s easy to add these extra goodies to your care package, as Pill Club asks if you’re interested before you even have a prescription.
How quickly you need birth control
From the time you finish your medical history questionnaire to the moment your package arrives on your doorstep, every stage in Pill Club’s process takes a bit of time. The company quotes that it may take one to two days for your prescription to be written, one to two days for your package to be built and shipped, and five to seven days for delivery. Altogether, this means that it may take seven to eleven days before you get your birth control prescription.
If your needs are more time-sensitive, you may want to look elsewhere. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, however, you can pick up your prescription in person from Pill Club’s pharmacy in San Mateo as soon as it’s ready.
Pill Club is relatively stringent in terms of who they will and won’t serve with medical concerns. If there is any risk of ill effects, they will not prescribe birth control for you and will instead suggest you talk with your doctor. As a plus, if your doctor decides that birth control is right for you and you would like to use Pill Club’s services, your doctor can fax them your prescription information. Pill Club will then fill and ship your birth control to you as if they were the ones who prescribed it. Their medical thoroughness is a big part of why it takes some time to process your prescription, as real licensed medical professionals go through your full medical history to assess any potential risk.
Pill Club’s thoroughness and care only add to their trustworthiness. One of the biggest side-effects of hormonal birth control is an increased risk of blood clots or stroke. The higher your estrogen, the higher that risk, and synthetic estrogen is the main ingredient in most hormonal birth control pills. You should avoid birth control pills with estrogen if you experience any of the following:
- Increased risk of blood clots or strokes
- Migraines with aura
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Liver problems
- Smoking, if you are over 35
Similarly, if you take any medications that increase your risk of blood clots, contact your doctor before seeking hormonal birth control. Pill Club operates with an abundance of caution since you are not being seen in person nor do you have any direct interactions with medical professionals, so they will not prescribe birth control pills with estrogen if you indicate any of the above.
Any type of hormonal birth control can also change how well certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, work. If you are taking any of these medications, Pill Club will not prescribe you any hormonal birth control and will require you to talk with your doctor.
Age and geography
Your age may limit your access to birth control. Age restrictions to access birth control are not specific to Pill Club and vary by state. In order to be legally prescribed birth control, you must be:
- 14 or above (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, Washington DC)
- 16 or above (Kansas)
- 18 or above (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia)
- 19 or above (Nebraska)
State requirements may include that you have graduated high school, are married, have already had a child, or have a doctor who says that your health would be at risk without it. Some states’ policies are not clear-cut, either, so read up before you go. Assuming you meet local requirements, Pill Club will ship medication to all 50 United States and will prescribe medication to every state except Alaska.
Pill Club also has a referral program: if you refer a friend who joins the service, they will donate $10 to Bedsider, which helps promote access to education about sexual health. While it doesn’t benefit you directly or monetarily, it aligns with Pill Club’s mission by supporting a good cause.
Combination birth control pills contain both estrogen and progestin. When you think of “the pill,” there’s a good chance you’re thinking of a combination birth control pill. In combination pills, both hormones work in tandem to make sure that the ovaries do not release an egg. Without an egg, you can’t conceive.
The pill has between a 91% and 99% success rate in preventing pregnancy, depending on how consistently you take it.
Many birth control packs include both “active” pills with hormones and “reminder” pills (or sugar pills) in every birth control pack to mimic a normal menstrual cycle. Different brands and types of pills will provide different lengths of cycles.
- Some operate on 28-day cycles, others on 24- or 21-day cycles.
- Some have a seven-day period, others have a four-day period.
(While we call it a “period,” it’s really not – a withdrawal bleed has no medical use because progestin in birth control keeps your uterine lining from building up, so there is nothing for your uterus to shed. However, please take your birth control pills as directed to prevent any potential side effects.)
Combination pills are the most common type of birth control pill and are a quintessential part of the birth control pill lineup. Four of the six medications that Pill Club recommends are combination pills:
- Vienva (generic for Aviane, Sronyx, Orsythia, and Larissia)
- Isibloom (generic for Enskyce and Reclipsen)
- Loryna (generic for Yaz)
- Sprintec (generic for Ortho-Cyclen)
All four combination pills recommended by Pill Club work on a 28-day cycle. One-cycle packs of Vienva, Isibloom, and Loryna all have 21 active pills and seven reminder pills. Sprintec, however, has 24 active pills and four reminder pills, so it may be a good option if you are interested in a shorter period.
Some combination pills also have FE in their name. This stands for ferrous fumarate, which is an iron supplement in your reminder pill to help prevent fatigue and anemia associated with menstruation. If you find yourself getting easily tired, pale, or dizzy during your period, it may be worth looking into a combination pill with FE. Pill Club offers several different brands both with and without FE.
No matter what birth control you try, make sure that you stay on it for at least two to three months (barring any unpleasant side effects). It takes a little while for your body to calibrate to the new hormone levels.
If you don’t know what birth control brand you want, but know that you’re trying to solve a specific side effect (such as improving acne or skipping periods) or are new to birth control, head over to Pill Club’s Birth Control Brands page. They list every medication they offer with specific tags, so you can sort through their abundant options to find exactly what you want.
Since combination pills are the most common and prolific form of hormonal birth control, they are also the least expensive. Many insurance providers will cover the cost of birth control pills, so if you are using insurance, check your policy to see what your copay may be.
If you’re paying out of pocket, Pill Club makes access affordable. Price varies depending on the brand you select and the number of packs you subscribe to (coming in one-, three-, and twelve-month packages), but starts at $6.99/month or $115/year annually. Purchasing in bulk will give you the best discounts if you know that your body works well with your choice in birth control.
Some birth control pills, also called “mini-pills” or POPs, contain only progestin – the synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. These progestin-only pills do not have any estrogen in them, so they don’t affect your hormonal makeup as dramatically as combination pills. Many of the side effects and complications that come with hormonal birth control are due to estrogen, so if you’re at an increased risk of stroke or blood clot, progestin-only pills may be your best bet.
Likewise, if you’ve recently given birth or are breastfeeding, the hormones from progestin-only pills will pass into your breast milk in small amounts, but with no ill effects to the baby, unlike combination pills.
Progestin-only pills work by thickening the fluid around your cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, as well as thinning your uterine lining to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. In some cases, progestin-only pills can prevent ovulation, but not consistently. The effectiveness runs anywhere from 91% to 99%, slightly less than a combination pill, depending on how consistently you take the medication.
It’s important to be careful with the timing of your doses. Taking a progestin-only pill more than three hours after your normal time decreases its efficiency enough that you will need to use a backup method of birth control for at least two days.
Pill Club offers only one progestin-only pill: norethindrone, which is the generic equivalent of Camila, Norlyda, and Nora-BE. Norethindrone (at a dose of 0.35 mg) has no reminder pills, so you will take the hormones consistently every day. You will still have a true period while on progestin-only birth control, though it may change in frequency, become lighter or heavier, or may stop altogether.
Norethindrone 0.35 mg from Pill Club costs $22.99 for one 28-day pack or $115.46 for a years’ worth of packs without insurance. Your costs with insurance may vary, so check with your insurance provider for more detail.
A birth control ring, or vaginal ring, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a bendable ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones to prevent conception. It does not physically block anything, but rather relies on hormonal protection like the pill.
The length of time that a birth control ring stays in depends on the brand.
- Some stay in for 28 days before replacing with another.
- Some stay in for 21 days of your cycle and then are removed for seven days before replacing with either the same or a new ring.
Pill Club offers one specific vaginal ring: Annovera. It’s the only non-pill hormonal birth control method that Pill Club stocks, and it was the first birth control ring approved by the FDA in 2018. Since then, more birth control rings such as NuvaRing have been approved and are widely used. Pill Club previously offered NuvaRing but has removed the product from its lineup.
Annovera is a birth control ring that supplies both progestin and estrogen (segesterone acetate and ethinyl estradiol, respectively) to prevent pregnancy. It brings one of the lowest hormone doses on the market at 0.013 mg of estrogen released per day (a typical combination pill, for comparison, has between 0.20 and 0.35 mg of estrogen) without sacrificing efficacy. Annovera boasts a strong 97% contraceptive success rate and is washable to boot.
One Annovera ring can be used repeatedly for thirteen 28-day cycles, or a little over a year. All you have to do is insert it, leave it there for 21 days, then take it out for a seven-day period. After seven days, reinsert the Annovera ring, and repeat for up to twelve more cycles. Most people with uteri don’t feel it once it has been inserted. If at any point you decide that Annovera is not for you, all that you need to do is take it out. It’s that easy – and gives you control over your own contraceptive choices at your speed.
Pill Club will prescribe Annovera to anyone eligible to take combination pills as long as you are not obese (have a BMI over 29). This is because Annovera is still a new medication and the clinical trial did not include people who are overweight or obese, so we don’t know yet how well it works.
Because it is so new and still a name-brand, Annovera isn’t cheap. It may be covered by your insurance, but check with your provider before deciding on it. If you need to pay out of pocket, expect to pay between $2,000 and $2,400 for one thirteen-cycle ring through Pill Club.
Note that Annovera will need to ship overnight because it is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations and will require a signature for delivery. If you’re concerned about privacy, Pill Club suggests shipping Annovera to your workplace or a trusted alternate address.
Levonorgestrel (generic Plan B) is a medication that you can take within three days of unprotected sex (or sex that you thought was protected, but you forgot your birth control pill, the condom ripped, and so on) to prevent pregnancy. You don’t need a prescription to get Plan B in person or online.
All that levonorgestrel does is prevent pregnancy: it won’t cause a miscarriage, nor will it work if you’re already pregnant.
It’s also not as effective as other methods of birth control. The sooner you take it after sex, the more effective it is – if you take it within 24 hours, it is 95% effective, but if you wait to take it between 48 and 72 hours later, that efficacy rate drops down to 61%. (For reference, the withdrawal method’s “typical use” efficacy rate is 80%.) Levonorgestrel is named impeccably: it should be your contraceptive Plan B in case all else goes wrong, not your primary birth control method.
Plan B is also notorious for not working as well in patients who weigh more than 155 pounds or have a BMI of 30 or above. There are alternatives to levonorgestrel for emergency contraception (such as ulipristal acetate or Ella, which can protect people who weigh up to 195 pounds), but none are offered by Pill Club.
Pill Club offers Plan B in its generic form, levonorgestrel, as single pills. One pill costs $18.99 if it isn’t covered by your insurance, and you can order up to two per shipment. This is significantly cheaper than the market price for Plan B, which runs between $40 and $50 to pick up at your local pharmacy.
Since you don’t need a prescription, you are free to add it to your shipment or order it through Pill Club whenever you want it. Just be sure that you order it in advance – shipping times are too long to be able to use Plan B if you only order it online when you need it.
Physical contraception is exactly what it sounds like – a physical barrier placed to prevent sperm and egg from ever meeting. There are many different kinds of physical contraception, from sponges to cervical caps to dental dams, but Pill Club sells both internal and external condoms.
External condoms are the type we are likely most familiar with: a latex or synthetic sheath worn over a penis to keep sperm from getting inside the receiving partner. External condoms prevent pregnancy 87% of the time (or 98% when used perfectly). These are probably the most common form of contraception available, found in pharmacies, convenience stores, grocery stores, and even gas stations.
Internal condoms, sometimes called “female condoms,” are a highlight for Pill Club. Internal condoms can be difficult to find, especially since there is only one brand (FC2) that has been approved by the FDA. An internal condom serves as a physical barrier, covering the cervix and preventing sperm from reaching the egg. It essentially looks like the external condom, but the partner with a uterus is the one who gets to put it on.
FC2’s internal condoms are not quite as effective as external condoms with an efficacy rate of about 79%, likely because they can be harder to put on correctly than an external condom. Internal condoms are also not typically made with latex unlike external condoms, so they may be better for people with latex allergies. Both types of condoms can prevent STDs including HIV, which hormonal birth control cannot do.
Aside from who puts the condom on, the biggest difference between internal and external condoms is price. Pill Club offers boxes of both types of condoms with twelve condoms per box. If you have insurance, it may cover the cost of internal condoms. Otherwise, one box of internal condoms costs $209.99. Unfortunately, that’s not a typo – the average box of FC2 condoms costs between $200 and $300 out-of-pocket elsewhere.
On the other hand, a box of twelve external condoms through Pill Club costs $11.99, and will not be covered by insurance.
In March 2021, Pill Club launched a brand new section of service: skincare. Now, alongside your birth control, you can get dermatologic care quickly and easily online.
There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind about Pill Club’s dermatology section. First and foremost, the service doesn’t feel like it’s yet had a full launch. Pill Club’s webpage for skincare is unlinked on the main page; the only way to find out about it is reading Pill Club’s blog or receiving a paper advertisement for it in your care package.
The website for dermatology is also only accessible for users with accounts, and prescriptions are only available for California residents. However, since many of their competitors offer prescription services beyond just birth control, it makes sense that Pill Club is moving in this direction. This service will likely continue to grow with time.
In its fledgling stage, Pill Club offers two different medications through their skincare service. Both are acne medications that work to clear skin, increasing cell turnover rates and brightening pigmentation for an even, smooth complexion.
Both clindamycin (1% concentration) and tretinoin (also known as Retin-A, which comes at both 0.025% and 0.05% concentrations) are gels that cost $40 per month without insurance. However, insurance will often fully cover clindamycin and tretinoin.
A dermatology appointment, which takes the same hands-off medical questionnaire and medical professional review structure as birth control appointments, also charges the same $15 consultation fee. This fee covers one year of access to unlimited messaging as well as the doctor’s time.
Placing an order
Getting a prescription from Pill Club requires an account. In order to make one, you’ll need to fill out a medical questionnaire.
First, this questionnaire checks your zip code to make sure that you’re eligible for birth control through Pill Club in your state, since they can’t prescribe birth control to Alaska residents. After verifying your location, Pill Club prompts you to make an account with your email address, phone number, and password. Be sure to use a phone number you check often, as Pill Club will contact you almost exclusively over text message.
The medical questionnaire asks:
- Legal name
- Assigned sex at birth
- Allergies (medications, food colorings, or corn)
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Smoking status
- Have you been on birth control before? (If yes, what kind? Have you had any side effects?)
- Are you pregnant, just given birth, or breastfeeding?
- Do you experience migraines, hypertension, or high cholesterol?
- Have you had permanent sterilization, had malabsorptive weight loss surgery, or been advised not to take hormones?
- Do you have a history of blood clots?
- Are you on any other medication?
Insider Tip: Your medical questionnaire can’t be edited after you submit it, so take your time to make sure all of your information is correct! Errors can slow your medical consultation significantly.
The medical questionnaire rules out any situations where it might not be safe for you to take birth control, such as a predisposition to strokes or conflicting medications. If Pill Club notices these situations, the questionnaire will be terminated and you’ll be redirected to a landing page that explains why they don’t think it’s a good idea to prescribe birth control to you.
In this case, you won’t be able to move forward with an order, even if you make a new account to try again. Talk with your doctor about your unique situation if you want to start hormonal birth control.
Otherwise, once you have completed the medical questionnaire, Pill Club will suggest a medication they think will work best with your history and goals. This helps to streamline a choice for you if you’re starting from the ground up. If you’ve tried a type of birth control before and liked it or want to try a specific brand, you can request to switch your brand under “Subscriptions” after creating your account.
Pill Club will ask for pictures of the front and back of your medical insurance card if you plan to use insurance, as well as your prescription card if it is separate. Whether or not you use insurance, you’ll be prompted to include a credit or debit card at the end for any out-of-pocket payments. You won’t be charged until after your medical consultation.
This is the only step that needs active time from you and should take no more than ten minutes.
After you have filled out the medical questionnaire and a medication has been suggested, your account will go into medical review mode. Here, one of Pill Club’s RNs will read through your medical questionnaire and the prescription that the service automatically assigned to ensure that it’s a good choice for you. Altogether, this process generally takes five to seven days to complete in full, though our testers found that it took one to two days longer to write a prescription when the RN had questions.
Keep your phone nearby while you’re waiting for your Pill Club prescription. You’ll need to reply to text messages periodically throughout the process to keep the ball rolling. After your prescription has been ordered, you’ll receive a text asking for consent to charge your card for the prescription (if it isn’t fully covered by insurance) before they can fill it.
Pill Club’s dashboard doesn’t have many interactive features, so the amount of information you can access is limited. You can update your insurance, credit card, address, and account settings, or request a different brand of birth control, but no more. If you’re interested in your appointment progress, the dashboard has a timeline front and center on the page to keep you updated. Each step has a short paragraph that appears once the step has begun that explains what’s going on. There are four steps to the medical review:
- Review info and verify (medical consultation)
- Write prescription
- Fill prescription
- Prepare package
The RN is involved in the first two steps, which should take no longer than two days. Once they have written the prescription for you and you’ve consented to payment, expect several texts at once:
- Confirmation that your prescription been written and is going to Pill Club’s pharmacy for processing
- Summary of information about the type of birth control you have been prescribed, including how and when to take it
- Confirmation of your payment
- Link to Pill Club’s All-Access Guide
All of our testers’ prescriptions were filled within 24 hours of submission and sent out to ship, though it can take up to two days.
Expect not one but three texts from Pill Club throughout the delivery process. First, you’ll get a text with a tracking number for your package once it ships. You can keep an eye on its progress through the system here.
Pill Club ships their prescriptions through DHL. On average, it takes three to five business days to get your package delivered; one package our testers ordered was sent to the wrong town’s post office, which added an extra week to the delivery time for a total of eleven days in the mail.
All automatic refills ship five days in advance of your last pack running out to avoid any missed days. However, if you’re trying to figure out when to start an order, we recommend ordering it sooner than you think you’ll need to allow for any lost time in the mail. This is another big reason to consider getting a multiple-month bundle of birth control pills.
On delivery day, Pill Club sends another text to prepare you for your packages’ arrival, and a third and final text once it’s been delivered.
The package itself arrives in a hot pink bubble mailer. While the color isn’t subtle, there is no branding whatsoever on the outside of the mailer. In fact, Pill Club’s full name isn’t even listed. Instead, the return address is addressed to “TPC.” This fulfills their promise of full discretion, so you don’t have to worry about anyone learning about your medical choices from snooping on your mail.
Inside the package, our testers received:
- The prescription itself (including the pills, a cardboard sleeve, and a pamphlet about the prescription)
- A separate pamphlet explaining the prescription
- An advertisement for Love Wellness and a sample of their unflavored collagen supplement
- A breast cancer awareness sticker
- A flyer advertising Pill Club’s dermatology program
- Pill Club’s pharmaceutical information pamphlet, including your right to request verbal consultation on prescriptions
Despite advertising a sweet in every box, our testers did not receive one. However, the collagen sample is a full serving size, and the advertisements were informative. We only learned about Pill Club’s dermatology program through the included flyer.
Every time you receive a refill, this same care package will arrive in your mailbox. In line with their mission, Pill Club makes getting birth control medication in the mail a little bit more of a treat.
Pill Club takes most forms of insurance, including Medi-CAL, Family PACT, and Medicare from a few other states. The only insurance that Pill Club is unable to take is network plans, such as Kaiser, which require you to use their specific pharmacies. They also accept payment from both HSAs and FSAs, so there’s a strong chance that you’ll be covered if you have insurance.
Most forms of insurance will cover the cost of birth control fully, so check your plan: you may walk away from birth control from Pill Club without having to pay a cent. Just know you’ll need to upload a picture of your insurance card (and your pharmacy card if it is separate) for Pill Club.
If you don’t have insurance, Pill Club has made it possible to pay very little for most birth control pills. There is a $15 consultation fee for out-of-pocket patients that covers the cost of the medical provider who looks over your records. This fee is charged once a year.
Without insurance, birth control packs start at $6.99/pack annually (or $83.88), but averages closer to $115 annually for both combined and progestin-only birth control. You can order birth control in groups of one, three, or twelve packets and get bulk order discounts for three- and twelve-month packets. Annovera is significantly more expensive, at somewhere between $2,000 and $2,400 for one thirteen-cycle ring.
Don’t want people who have access to your insurance to know you’re on birth control, but can’t afford birth control without it? Pill Club can walk you through how to submit a confidential communications request with your insurance and links to a guide on submitting the request in California. A confidential communications request is exactly that – it keeps your medical information confidential and will only discuss or mail information about it to you.
If you are a California resident looking for dermatology support, Pill Club offers two prescriptions at equal pricing points. Dermatology has its own $15 consultation fee. Both dermatological medications cost $40 without insurance, and as low as $0 with insurance as many companies will cover the cost of tretinoin or clindamycin.
Pill Club also offers a small store with other contraceptive and conception goodies to add to your delivery. This includes:
- Organic cotton pads and tampons ($7.99/pack of 18, in a variety of different pad and tampon combinations)
- Pregnancy tests ($12.99/pack of two)
- External condoms ($11.99/pack of 12)
- Water-based lubricant ($11.99/pack of 12)
- Emergency contraception ($18.99/dose, up to two doses per shipment)
- Internal condoms ($209.99/pack of 12)
With the exceptions of internal condoms and emergency contraception, these goodies are not going to be covered by your insurance, so be sure to have a credit card ready if you want to purchase them.
If you need more medical care than just birth control, you might want to take a look at Lemonaid, a general telemedicine platform with birth control options.
Lemonaid offers over 150 different types of birth control pills – more than Pill Club – but only offers birth control in a pill form. A consultation to get your pill prescribed by phone or video call costs $25, $10 more than Pill Club. Once your prescription has been written, you’ll receive a three-month supply of your pill in two to five days.
Price varies depending on the type of pill you get, but if you go with one of Lemonaid’s preferred generics, expect it to cost about $45 (or $15 per month). Lemonaid also does not take any insurance. If you have insurance and want to use it, Lemonaid may not be the best option for you.
SimpleHealth allows for a more personal doctor experience than Pill Club, which requires you to contact customer support if you want to speak with a medical professional. They will write and ship your birth control prescription and require you to check in after 45 days so that you can talk with a medical professional to determine if your pill is the right one to be on. That said, SimpleHealth offers patches, pills, and vaginal rings for birth control, so you have more options to choose from; they also sell internal condoms, emergency contraception like Pill Club, as well as cold sore and herpes medication.
You’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $20, but like Pill Club, that fee covers your consultations and check-ins for a full year. If you’re a student, you’re in luck with SimpleHealth – simply provide proof of your student status with a school email address, and the company will waive your consultation fee.
Wisp is a broad service for sexual health that expands beyond just birth control. Having begun as a discreet service for herpes treatment, Wisp keeps the idea of patient privacy at the forefront of their services.
To use Wisp, you’ll need to upload a selfie and a picture of your ID to make sure you are who you say you are. They do offer birth control pills – but only pills – and emergency contraception, but they also carry treatments for cold sores and herpes, bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). The company also offers primary care and COVID-19 at-home antibody tests. Interestingly, Wisp will also provide a one-month pack of norethindrone to delay your period if it is supposed to happen when you don’t want it to, such as during your wedding or on a long-awaited vacation.
Your first month with Wisp is free, and there are never any consultation fees. Your orders will be processed within 24 hours. If you want to use birth control shorter-term, Wisp may be a good alternative.
Nurx is a service very similar to Pill Club, primarily offering birth control prescriptions. With Nurx, you can select from over 100 generic and name-brand options available in pill, patch, ring, or injectable forms.
Though Pill Club offers more types of pills, you have more delivery options with Nurx. They also expect you to know what you want in your birth control, requiring you to pick it out yourself, whereas Pill Club uses a guiding hand to help identify the right option for you. Nurx has also started offering emergency contraception, prescription skincare, cold sore and herpes treatment, at-home STI and HPV testing, and PrEP (a preventative medication for HIV).
No matter what you’re using Nurx for, there is an annual consult fee of $15 whether or not you have insurance. Prescription costs vary, so if you don’t have insurance or don’t plan on using it, Nurx can recommend your best options for saving money through a customer service recommendation form.
Hers is another online health company for women, but sexual health only makes up a small amount of what they offer. Other services through Hers include mental health, skincare, hair care, and primary care.
They offer exclusively birth control pills in ten different brands, providing a limited palette within their broad range of services. Hers has an advanced filter system similar to Pill Club’s to help you narrow down the best birth control pill for your needs, with even more tags for things like “helps iron deficiencies” and “new to the pill.”
There is no consultation fee for Hers, but they don’t take any insurance. Prices start at $12/month for your birth control pills; like Pill Club, they offer discounts for annual bulk orders.
Want your birth control same-day? Planned Parenthood is the gold standard for non-primary-care, in-person birth control options.
They don’t have any pharmacies, so they can’t ship you your medication, but you can make either an in-person or video visit and have your prescription sent to your pharmacy of choice. They provide every type of birth control, including IUDs and implants that need to be placed by a medical professional.
Most insurance plans will cover a trip to Planned Parenthood, but if you can’t or don’t want to use insurance, many Planned Parenthood locations offer sliding scale fees based on your income levels. The price of your medication varies widely depending on the type, but birth control pills you’d find on Pill Club average about $20/month at Planned Parenthood.
Other in-person options
When in doubt, you can always go to your primary care provider for a birth control prescription. Most insurance plans cover birth control through a simple in-office appointment.
Of course, this means that you’d have to attend in person, which might mean long wait times. Depending on your state’s laws, this approach may be more difficult than getting a different type of prescription or using an online service like Pill Club.
If you don’t have insurance or a primary care provider but are looking for birth control, you can also reach out to your city or county health department. They may have resources to help you find low-cost birth control options.