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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Telehealth providers report increase in requests for birth control

One Bay-Area health tech company has seen a surge in birth control requests by 50% since March.

CALIFORNIA, USA — The coronavirus pandemic has been impacting women's access to birth control with many unable to see doctor. But as more patients are going online using telehealth services, one Bay Area-based company is seeing a spike for contraception requested by patients.

“There’s been a huge amount of adoption for our Nurx service,” said Nurx CEO Varsha Rao.

Rao said her health tech company has seen a surge in birth control requests by 50% since March.

“[There's been a] dramatic increase in people who are coming to use our telemedicine service because getting traditional access to care has become much more challenging,” Rao said.

With stay-at-home orders keeping people inside and doctors visits scarce, more Americans have been turning to telehealth providers for convenience and cost.

The Nurx website offers birth control pills online for as little as $0 with insurance or $15 without it per month. The site shows detailed pictures of pills, a patch and a shot and breaks down the steps to get a prescription and have it delivered home.

"That’s a huge uptick, I think largely driven by an increased level of comfort as well as a need for more options to get critical healthcare services,” Bao said

This surge in birth control comes as the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments by phone on whether the Trump administration can make it easier for employers with religious and moral objections to opt-out of providing free birth control coverage in their insurance plans.

"Not everybody who seeks the protection from coverage has the same objections,” said Chief Justice Roberts.

Rao said contraception is a critical part of healthcare, and she strongly believes in access and hopes that employers and the Supreme Court will see it the same way.

"More access to birth control creates fewer unintended pregnancies, more ability to plan, and better economic livelihoods as over 50% of births in the country are actually unintended pregnancies,” Rao said.

Rao said her company Nurx has served over 500,000 patients, and she believes that number will continue to grow.

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