Yay! Pharmacists in California can prescribe birth control too now

More good news from the left coast: Californians can get the pill, the patch, the ring, or the shot prescribed directly at the pharmacy.

Back in January 2016 we wrote that Oregon had made some hormonal birth control methods available directly from pharmacists and that a similar law was about to go into effect in California. Well, Californians, the wait is over—pharmacists in your state will now be able to prescribe birth control!

The laws in the two states are pretty similar, but there are a few differences:

  • Methods. In Oregon, pharmacists can prescribe and dispense the pill and the patch. In California, pharmacists can prescribe and dispense the pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot.

  • Age. In Oregon, teens under 18 can have their prescription renewed by a pharmacist but can’t get a new prescription. California on the other hand has no age restrictions on who can get a prescription from the pharmacy.

Can I get birth control at any pharmacy in California or Oregon?

The laws in Oregon and California don’t guarantee that all pharmacists will now prescribe birth control. In both states, pharmacists can choose to get training that allows them to prescribe hormonal birth control—but they have to opt in.

If you live in one of these states and are interested in getting hormonal birth control from a local pharmacy, call first. You’ll want to find out whether there’s a pharmacist at that location who can prescribe birth control. If there is a pharmacist prescribing birth control at that location, you can also ask if there’s a particular time when it’s best to see that pharmacist.

How does it work?

When you go to a participating pharmacy, you’ll fill out a short questionnaire about your health history. The pharmacist can counsel you on birth control options if needed, then will make sure your method of choice is safe for you and give you your birth control plus any instructions you need for using it. If you have health insurance, your birth control should be covered but there may be an out-of-pocket fee for the visit with the pharmacist. It’s not clear yet which insurance plans will cover that, but you can save your receipt and send it to your insurance company to see if they’ll reimburse you. (Let us know in the comments if they do!)

Rumor has it that other states are considering similar laws—we’ll keep an ear out and keep you posted. In the meantime, if you don’t live in California or Oregon but you’re interested in getting hormonal birth control without visiting a health care provider, check out your state’s options for telemedicine and birth control delivery.