Profile: 'Nurx' Is Changing The Way Women Receive Birth Control

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The use of birth control is increasing every year as millions of women worldwide seek to find the best contraceptives available, especially for women who have very busy lives. However, obtaining birth control can be an expensive, time-consuming task.

Nurx, a San Francisco-based startup devoted to bringing affordable birth control and prEP (a once-daily pill that’s designed to prevent HIV), is seeking to help more women find access to birth control at affordable rates to subscribers as quickly as possible.

Nurx’s services are currently available in 17 states and the District of Columbia. For those with health insurance, birth control prescriptions are free whereas, for those without health insurance, the monthly fee is just $15 per month. The variety of contraceptives that are covered by Nurx have options that include combination pills, progestin-only pills, NuvaRings, patches, and Plan B contraception.

Nurx was founded in 2014 by Edvard Engasaeth and Hans Gangeskar who want to make birth control prescription accessible to all women throughout the U.S., regardless of where they're from or who they are. The services offered by Nurx are aimed to help subscribers get the important information from the contraceptives they want by engaging with a licensed professional and being able to have access to the prescription without paying extra fees.

One of Nurx's subscribers, Shiva Pedram, was happy that Nurx called her insurance to cover her requested birth control. This was her feedback:

Nurx was able to contact my insurance and have them cover the birth control I wanted, even after I called and was turned down by my insurance multiple times. They really care about their customers and go above and beyond to help them.

Women who don’t have health insurance have had a difficult time paying for birth control as prescriptions for contraceptives can cost up to $50 a month. Even for those who do have health insurance and have comfortable incomes that can allow them to obtain birth control on a monthly basis, they would have to skip work, school, or other personal matters to arrive at a clinic to pick up their prescriptions.

Certain birth control methods such as the intrauterine device can cost women about $1,000 to purchase. Many women across the country expressed fears of what would happen if the current administration would pass legislation that would make birth control not only more expensive but hard to find as well. 

The Affordable Care Act has been beneficial for women who have access to contraceptives and other related services from health insurance companies and having that repealed one day may make them pay extra for those products and services out of their own wallets. Support for the ACA had taken a setback on Jan. 12, 2017 when the Senate had approved a budget blueprint for health care in the U.S. that could potentially risk the loss of affordable health insurance for millions of Americans.

On Oct. 3, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services had issued rules requiring employers to offer birth control coverage and also exempting employers to cover contraceptive services based on “religious beliefs and moral convictions”. About 55 million women in America have access to birth control without the use of copays and the regulations that are enacted may lead them to lose their benefits when they are about to receive contraceptives. 

Before the contraceptive will arrive at the subscriber’s doorstep, a licensed doctor (most likely would be a gynecologist) would review the request before writing the prescription for the subscriber. In doing this, the subscriber would be safe in knowing that the prescribed contraceptive that they are getting had been approved by a professional who is knowledgeable in birth control.

When it comes to personal interaction with professionals, Nurx gives its subscribers an opportunity to licensed doctors about the contraceptives that they feel are suitable for their needs. Professional advice can make things helpful for women who want to have knowledge on the contraceptive they want before the prescription is ready to be delivered.

More than 19 million women in this country are living in areas where they do not have reasonable access to the wide variety of contraceptives that they want. Those areas are called, “contraceptive deserts”, and they are counties that do not have a sizable number of clinics to serve the needs of the population.

One state that has the most contraceptive deserts in the U.S. is Texas and fortunately for those who live in the Lone Star State, Texas is one of the states that Nurx offers its services in. As much as Nurx wants to be widespread throughout all 50 states, it has met resistance from conservative lawmakers and anti-abortion groups. Texas is also Nurx’s largest market and where most of its subscribers come from.

There are still strict rules that Nurx has for its subscribers before they begin to obtain contraceptives. The startup requires that those who are 12 years and older are considered for birth control although certain state and local regulations would differ on how old the person may be allowed to obtain birth control.

If their subscribers need their prescription to be refilled , Nurx automatically refills the prescription for a whole year. For those who are prescribing prEP, their refills are automatically refilled every 3 months. 

Subscribers can also contact Nurx at any time if they want on-demand refills, which means wanting the desired contraceptives to be delivered right away. Nurx can also remind the subscribers to renew their subscription if their birth control prescription is no longer being refilled.

Another satisfied subscriber, Caitlin Oliver, praised Nurx's conveniency. This was her response:

    I absolutely love the convenience of Nurx — I no longer have to go to the pharmacy each month, nor do I have to frantically try to get a doctor’s appointment every time I’m out of refills.

Nurx is making a lot of women’s lives easier by offering easy and affordable access to birth control methods. In a time where health insurance may get expensive to afford and the possibility of affordable health care being an afterthought can become a reality, Nurx is a startup that wants to ensure that millions of American women are feeling comfortable with their bodies (and their budgets) when they are subscribed to its birth control services.