This startup uses technology for birth control services in DC

With a new pivot in Medicaid insurance coverage, the health tech startup Twenty-eight Health has huge plans for the telemedicine scene in DC.

The company, which focuses on reproductive and sexual health, was founded in 2018 in New York City before expanding to offer services in 33 states and DC. As of this week, he now accepts Medicaid insurance in the district. While the company was already present in the region, the co-founder Amy Fan said the addition of Medicaid can help Twentyeight Health expand its footprint to the nearly 300,000 people in DC covered by the federal health insurance program.

“That’s almost a third of DC’s population,” Fan said. Technically. “I think sometimes there’s a misconception that Medicaid is marginal, but in reality it’s an important service that impacts a lot of people.”

Twentyeight Health began with the hope of increasing access to reproductive and sexual health, with a focus on underserved communities. He currently provides virtual telemedicine and continuing care in English and Spanish. The company also provides patients with access to birth control, emergency contraception and home COVID testing for patients. Fan said Twentyeight Health also seeks to provide inclusive care: all doctors in its network are women, with more than 75% being BIPOC and 45% offering services in Spanish.

Patients begin the process by completing a medical questionnaire which is also reviewed asynchronously by a physician. They can also schedule audio consultations or message a doctor directly, which Fan says provides more access for patients who don’t have high-speed internet access.

Twentyeight Health’s goal, Fan said, is to make it easier for patients to access tools like contraceptives. But maintaining access both early in the process and later in the process is crucial, she noted, as patients experience side effects and other potential problems.

“For us, it’s so important that the user can continue to message the doctor so that the doctor can help them find another brand or another method that might be more appropriate,” Fan said. “So for someone looking for a contraceptive, they can actually find something that works for them.”

Fan said that she and the co-founder Bruno Van Tuykom built the Twentyeight Health system in-house. Currently, the company does not plan to open its own clinics; Instead, it seeks to partner with local clinics and create a more seamless healthcare experience. The company also hopes to eventually add support for women in their pre- and post-natal journey.

“Telehealth has so much potential, especially when you think about it combining both asynchronous and synchronous [elements]and really think about how we can build it to really fit an individual’s lifestyle,” Fan said.