More than 19 million women of reproductive age live in “contraceptive deserts,” or parts of the country where access to birth control is limited. It can be anxiety-inducing when the nearest provider who offers a full range of birth control is several hundred miles away, especially if your prescription is about to run out and you aren’t ready to have a child.
Luckily, online access to birth control has blown up in the last few years, giving access to contraception to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
SimpleHealth is one of these online birth control companies. They provide birth control pills and patches and even one birth control ring within 48 hours after a quick assessment. With so many online birth control options available, we looked into SimpleHealth to see what makes them stand out.
- Over 120 brands of birth control available as pills, patches, or a ring
- Individualized fertility and perimenopause guides help you maneuver life changes
- Strong focus on patient education
- Accepts almost every major insurance
- Requires your approval to process and ship your order, so there are no surprises
- No consultation fees for verified students
- Free shipping no matter what
- Not available in every state
- Cold sore and herpes treatment not yet covered by insurance
- Some forms of birth control are prohibitively expensive without insurance
SimpleHealth is an online birth control provider that offers a wide variety of brands and methods without much hassle. They’re clear and upfront about what you need to get started and are upfront about copays over $25 before charging you. While most prices are comparable to other online birth control providers, they give more educational resources and add many freebies to your subscription. Overall, their extended catalog might be small, but their customer-focused work proves that even online practitioners can have an excellent bedside manner.
Simplehealth provides fast, convenient birth control pills, patches, and rings after a quick online consultation.
Simplehealth offers over 120 birth control brands to choose from at different price points. Shipping is free and students are exempt from consultation fees.
- Why you should trust us
- What is SimpleHealth?
- SimpleHealth birth control prescriptions
- Supplements and other treatments
- SimpleHealth guides
- Insurance and pricing
- Pricing and fees
- Is SimpleHealth a good value?
- Customer support
- Getting started with SimpleHealth
- How we evaluate health products and services
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service or product we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality and the latest medical evidence and health standards. We ask ourselves two simple questions: Would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job? Would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
SimpleHealth was founded in 2015 as SimpleContacts, providing contact prescriptions online. Since then, they have shifted their business model to online birth control while maintaining their previous high standards. In February 2022, they acquired Emme, another online contraceptive company. While changes have been slow to roll out, they have an eye on continuing to grow within online contraceptives and sexual health care.
SimpleHealth doesn’t require any commitments from you to get started. Instead, you take a thorough assessment to match with the ideal birth control. Your medication ships to you directly and refills a week before you’re scheduled to run out. You can order and adjust refills, switch brands, or cancel your subscription at any time with no charges. And they check in with you after the first 45 days to see if the prescription is a good fit, which is a closer eye than many other online programs.
Who might not be a good fit for SimpleHealth
Anyone who has a major health concern, takes certain medications, or is under 18 should seek a birth control prescription from an in-person provider. SimpleHealth won’t prescribe contraception in these cases because there’s a higher risk of adverse side effects that can’t be mitigated through telehealth.
While SimpleHealth is working on expanding their team to include licensed prescribers in every state, there’s still a significant number of states they can’t serve. These include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
SimpleHealth offers more than 120 brands of birth control, making them one of the best providers if you prefer a niche brand or if you’ve had side effects with common prescriptions.
You can find both the standard combination birth control pill (with estrogen and progesterone) and the mini-pill (progestin-only) in different brand names and formulations. SimpleHealth has many options, such as three-month packs that lets you skip two periods and a one-month-at-a-time progesterone-only pill for those who are getting started and want to test it out. Specifically, they carry:
- One-month packs
- Three-month packs
- Combination pills
- Progestin-only pills
- Packs with one week of sugar pills (so you have a period)
- Packs without sugar pills (skipping periods, also sometimes called “extended cycle”)
- 28-day cycles
- 21-day cycles
Each of these options has multiple brands you can choose from with slightly varying hormone levels, so you and your doctor at SimpleHealth can customize your birth control regimen to your hormonal palette.
The final option for SimpleHealth birth control is a new device called Annovera, approved in 2018 by the FDA. Annovera is referred to as the “birth control ring” — a small, flexible ring made of soft plastic that steadily releases hormones. To get started with Annovera, you keep it inserted for three weeks a month and remove it for one (which causes a withdrawal bleed mimicking a period), reusing the ring for up to 13 months.
Annovera is a convenient option for those who might not like IUDs or implants but can’t always remember to take a pill on time (which is especially important for progestin-only pills that need to be taken within a three-hour window every day). However, price is a crucial sticking point: one 13-cycle ring costs $2,000 out-of-pocket through SimpleHealth. This isn’t as much as most of their competitors, who charge up to $1,000 more.
Many insurance providers don’t yet cover Annovera. If yours does, know that many patients have reported getting a run-around from insurance companies while getting the prescription ready. Be prepared: you might have to put up a little bit of a fight.
SimpleHealth stocks Ella, an emergency contraception brand. It can help if you missed your birth control and didn’t realize it, the condom broke, or you got caught unprepared. Ella is an alternative to Plan B that is generally considered more effective, especially for women who weigh more than 155 pounds (but studies are inconclusive on those with a BMI over 35) but requires a prescription. Luckily, SimpleHealth knows how important contraceptive access is and will write a prescription for anyone who is medically fit to take it.
Ella, specifically, is a progesterone modulator, meaning it activates and blocks progesterone receptors in your body, making your body release even more progesterone. High progesterone levels mimic the time after ovulation when your body is getting ready for your period, so you might experience some PMS symptoms, including nausea, after taking Ella. If you vomit within three hours of taking it, there’s a chance that it won’t absorb; you should see a medical professional to determine whether or not you’ll need another dose.
You should take Ella as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The closer you are to the act, the more likely the pill will work (especially within the first 72 hours), but you can take it up to five days later. After you take it, stop your birth control for five days, as taking Ella with hormonal birth control lessens the chances that it works.
In some cases, your insurance will cover the price of Ella. It costs about $50 out-of-pocket for one dose.
SimpleHealth also sells a physical contraceptive if hormonal birth control isn’t a good option for you right now. They stock FC2, also known as the female (or internal) condom. The internal condom is exactly what it sounds like: a condom worn inside the vagina to protect against pregnancy and STDs with a physical barrier. (Despite preventing pregnancy, hormonal birth control doesn’t protect against STDs or STIs.)
You can insert an internal condom up to a few hours before you plan to have sex, so there are no awkward lulls or fumbling in the moment. Plus, it’s made from a synthetic latex that’s safe for those with latex allergies and can be used with any lubricant.
Many insurance plans cover the total cost of FC2. If yours is among that list, SimpleHealth automatically adds a subscription of FC2 to your monthly birth control package at no charge. Don’t want it? Text or email customer support, and they’ll remove it, no questions asked.
If your insurance doesn’t cover FC2, there’s no option to order it out-of-pocket from SimpleHealth. This is likely because one box of FC2 can cost up to $250 when bought over-the-counter. SimpleHealth is working to remedy this and expand their options, so availability may change in the future.
SimpleHealth provides a small selection of supplements for those interested in improving symptoms commonly associated with PMS and menstrual troubles. Right now, there are five supplements that you can add to your monthly or quarterly refills.
The Daily 5 ($20/month)
A standard multivitamin featuring five of the most commonly deficient vitamins. Contains vitamins B6, B12, and D, alongside riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and zinc.
Urinary Tract Support ($15/month)
Researchers haven’t determined whether or not cranberries help prevent or stop UTIs (it seems to work for some people and not others). If you know you’re prone to UTIs, this supplement containing 500mg of cranberry extract might help stave them off.
Probiotic Blend ($25/month)
If you take antibiotics often, have some stomach or GI problems, or want to improve your gut health, SimpleHealth offers a surprisingly robust probiotic. This contains 12 probiotic strains (eight Lactobacillus, three Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus thermophilus — lactic acid and GABA-promoting bacteria, not the same as the bacteria that gives you strep) with 30 billion CFU. Unlike many probiotics, this blend doesn’t need to be refrigerated; store it at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.
Prenatal Multivitamin ($30/month)
The Daily 5 multivitamin with additional ingredients to support both the parent and developing baby through pregnancy. Contains folate, iron, omega-3s, calcium, choline, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and more, as well as the handy addition of ginger root to help keep nausea at bay.
Sleep Restore ($25/month)
Advertised as a non-addictive alternative to sleep medication but is more likely to help you restore a healthy sleep pattern than knock you out immediately. Sleep Restore contains melatonin, glycine, and magnesium with a peppermint-scented packet in the bottle. This helps to avoid artificial colors or scents but still provide the improved sleep quality peppermint can give you, even more than lavender.
Herpes and cold sore treatment
One of SimpleHealth’s new product additions is herpes and cold sore treatment. With your birth control package, you can get valacyclovir, an antiviral medication. SimpleHealth won’t diagnose herpes (genital or oral) and won’t prescribe valacyclovir if it’s your first time trying an antiviral medication. If you can feel an outbreak coming on, valacyclovir will help you suppress it. The earlier in the outbreak you can start taking it, the better; some people find it helpful to have some in advance if you think you might need it.
There’s some unclear messaging on the platform concerning insurance coverage of valacyclovir. Some pages say it can go through insurance; others say it’s coming soon. Either way, a standard pack of three treatments (six tablets per outbreak or 18 tablets per pack) cost between $20 and $40 out-of-pocket, depending on your dose. SimpleHealth only prescribes valacyclovir, so if you prefer a different antiviral, you’ll have better luck trying elsewhere for now.
Education is a priority to SimpleHealth — so much so that they’ve put together two informational guides on their site. They tailor information about fertility and perimenopause (the years leading up to the start of menopause) by giving you a brief quiz that asks about:
- Your personal goals
- Any recent menstruation-related symptoms
- Your period history
- Other relevant pieces of medical information (such as if you’ve ever been diagnosed with PCOS or had abdominal surgery)
Youre responses personalize the guide, providing information about the factors that affect your chances of having children or how soon you should expect menopause. Both guides are highly informative, including charts, graphs, and images alongside bright graphic design and easy-to-read text that isn’t ever condescending.
Birth control currently has excellent insurance coverage: most major insurance providers cover its price. SimpleHealth honors this, working with just about every insurance company out there. If a small, regional insurance company covers you, there’s no way to guarantee that SimpleHealth works with them. However, they’ll run an insurance check before processing your order and then relay that information to you, so you’ll be able to decide before SimpleHealth charges you out-of-pocket.
For the most part, SimpleHealth can find you some of the lowest prices on birth control. They rely on generic brands of pills and patches, which are just as clinically effective without the brand-name price markup.
Unless you’re a student (and can verify your student status using Student Beans), SimpleHealth charges a flat annual fee of $15 for their physician consultation. This covers everything from your initial consultation to any questions you may have. Verified students get their consultation fees waived. $15 is on the lower end of average for telehealth consultation fees, which generally stick between $15 and $25 per year.
Most of their pack or pill birth control starts at $7/month for those uninsured and averages around $20/month. Some of the name brands they carry can cost up to $200/month; SimpleHealth will always start with their least expensive options that’ll fit your medical profile unless you otherwise request it. Most insurance providers fully cover birth control, making SimpleHealth an easy and potentially free service. Plus, if your insurance fully covers FC2 or Ella, they’ll add it to your subscription.
The only exception to this low-cost model is Annovera. This is a known problem with the birth control ring not unique to SimpleHealth; competitors like Favor (formerly Pill Club) struggle with it. Annovera is less expensive through SimpleHealth than Favor by $800/year. However, that is a drop in the bucket, as it’s $2,000 per year out-of-pocket with SimpleHealth. Despite what SimpleHealth and the Annovera website claim, many have found their insurance won’t cover the birth control ring yet.
If your insurance won’t cover a particular type of birth control or if your copay ends up being more than $20, SimpleHealth messages you and won’t charge you until you give explicit permission. This is one of the more customer-friendly services we’ve seen in telehealth, let alone the online birth control sphere.
SimpleHealth always ships your orders for free, no matter where they’re headed or how much is in your package. They use USPS First Class, so all orders have a tracking link and take 1-3 days to arrive. Most prescriptions are filled within a day or two, so if you order on a Monday, you’re almost certain to have your prescription in hand by the end of the week. You’ll only need to sign for your mail if you’ve ordered Annovera.
Since SimpleHealth is a subscription service, you won’t have to go through the whole process every time you need refills. Instead, SimpleHealth verifies that you want a refill and then packages and ships it to you at least one week before you’re scheduled to run out. That way, even shipping issues won’t get between you and your birth control.
If you’re interested in saving time, SimpleHealth is a good value. They get your birth control to you quickly and efficiently while keeping prices low and giving you as much bang for your buck as possible. Not every birth control brand is inexpensive, but they provide a wealth of options before reaching for the expensive kinds (and avoid them when they can). Almost all of their offerings match prices with or cost less than other online birth control companies. More importantly, though, SimpleHealth offers the best customer service you can find from contraceptive telehealth. Their patient-first approach gives you a high level of agency and attention, so you know you’re in charge of your health.
We think that SimpleHealth is a good value compared to an in-person appointment. All online birth control companies are more convenient than driving to a doctor’s office (and having to schedule that appointment in the first place), even if a small annual fee offsets it. In SimpleHealth’s case, their speed and insurance coverage are significant enough to keep up with a doctor’s offerings while still reaching those living in contraceptive deserts.
Like other online healthcare providers, SimpleHealth is bound by HIPAA. This means they can’t share your private health information (PHI) with anyone who isn’t actively assisting in your care. They might talk to a pharmacist to get your prescription filled or a nursing student to get a second opinion on what brand of birth control you should use, but your information won’t be sold or shared with third parties. They participate in behavioral advertising — personalized ads based on the sites you’ve visited before — which means they take in some information from cookies. However, they don’t save personal information or do anything outside of standard marketing practice.
Your packages always ship discreetly with no indication of where they’re from. The return label is addressed to their partner pharmacy, not SimpleHealth. While someone looking at your mail might recognize that you’re getting a prescription, they won’t be able to tell what it’s for.
When it comes to getting in touch with your healthcare providers, time is of the essence. SimpleHealth has two options available: you can email their customer support line or text a customer support agent.
While open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, the text line is only available for people who’ve already placed an order with SimpleHealth (and the phone number isn’t listed anywhere public-facing on their website). So if you’re a new customer with a question not answered by their in-depth FAQ, you’re stuck with emails. You’ll have to wait about three days to get an email response.
If you already have an account, SimpleHealth recommends sending an email for longer-term account concerns, like canceling your order (at least a week before it’s due).
To get started with SimpleHealth, you’ll need to take an assessment that looks at your medical history and why you’re interested in starting birth control. This quiz took our testers about 10 minutes to complete. Specifically, it asks about:
- Demographic information (email, state of residence, assigned sex at birth, gender and pronouns, full legal name, birthday)
- What you’re interested in getting from SimpleHealth (birth control, nutritional supplements, UTI care, gut health, cold sore treatment, herpes treatment)
- Medical history (BMI, pregnancy and childbirth status, previous birth control use, health status, current medication use, smoking status, blood pressure, medication allergies, surgical history)
Suppose an answer makes you ineligible for hormonal birth control. In that case, the assessment stops and provides a notice about why they don’t feel comfortable prescribing birth control to you. Should you be a good candidate, after you finish the evaluation, SimpleHealth provides a text box to send any notes or questions you have to the doctor on staff in your state, such as a preference for one brand of birth control over another.
Next, create an account. Your info is sent to the doctor who writes you a prescription. Our testers found that the prescription confirmation came within 48 hours every time.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service or product. In general, we have five broad evaluation areas, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) or product(s)? How is advanced technology used for accuracy and safety? What evidence of efficacy does the company provide? Are manufacturing standards high-quality?
User-friendly: How intuitive and convenient is the service or product? To what degree is the company interface helpful and understandable?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, is it stored securely? Are payments secure? Does the company market your information?
Customer support: With personalized products and services, how well does the company address your individual needs? If a product or service does not work for you, are there satisfaction guarantees or return policies that protect you?