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Online Contraceptive and STI Services During COVID-19: What are the options?


A new KFF data note provides an overview of online options for contraceptive and STI services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource also includes an interactive table that shows which platforms are available in each state and which accept private insurance or Medicaid.

The majority of traditional family planning clinics are still open for in-person care or are moving to telehealth services – but some clinics and providers have reduced hours and limited in-person visits to patients with urgent needs only. There are dozens of online platforms for contraception and STI management, which offer an alternative for obtaining care as clinics face staffing shortages and take measures to scale back in-person visits to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

While they may offer access to contraception through a phone app or online platform, there are significant limitations – especially when it comes to affordability and coverage.  Many online platforms do not accept insurance or Medicaid and do not offer sliding fee scale options for the uninsured. Unless individuals can find a platform that accepts their insurance or Medicaid, they can expect to pay considerably more for contraceptive services and STI treatment than they would for care obtained in clinical settings, which is typically covered without cost-sharing.

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.

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