Last year, my birth control started giving me new and uncomfortable symptoms — something that happens to countless women across the world. I suddenly experienced what I later discovered to be breakthrough bleeding, and I also struggled with weight gain. I needed to speak to a doctor, but wait times were through the roof, and I couldn’t go home to see my general practitioner. What I really needed was to quickly message or call a professional to ask for help — but I was forced to sit in my confusion and discomfort for days on end.
I’m certainly not the only one who has experienced this struggle. Countless North American college women are ill-informed and unable to solve their medical issues because the health care system has failed them. We’re in dire need of a better way to access care. And even though it may not seem like it, there are several companies who see our struggle and want to help us — one being Caraway.
What is Caraway?
Founded in 2022, Caraway is a digital platform offering college women 24/7 access to specialists in physical, mental, and reproductive health. Their mission is to improve the ways college women access health care, and they’re rapidly growing to reach this goal. Caraway is currently collaborating with over 100 insurance companies, and they’re quickly expanding to provide services to college students across the United States.
What services do they offer?
Essentially, Caraway gives you constant access to physical, mental, and reproductive health care services. Wherever you are and whatever time it is, you can quickly jump on your phone and call or text a primary care provider to answer any medical question — say you’ve got a rash that needs looking at, you think you may have an STI, or you’re struggling with anxiety. Those burning questions that used to result in Google diagnoses and hours on hold can now be quickly solved by texting and video calling. (Which are, let’s be honest, the forms of communication Gen Z does best.)
Caraway can also prescribe medicine for you, organize blood work and lab tests, or refer you to other specialists if you need a service not currently on their list. For example, if you speak with an abortion counselor at Caraway and decide that you need further abortion services, they can connect you and help you make an appointment.
Why is Caraway important?
The unfortunate fact is, Gen Z women are in desperate need of help to improve their health in various ways. Specifically, college students’ mental health is continuing to worsen, largely due to the pandemic, and women are three times more likely to suffer from a mental health issue than men.
But it’s not just about mental health — with Roe V. Wade overturning, reproductive health is in a crisis. And to top it all off, there is still a large stigma and lack of information about women’s physical health, leading to an increased inability to help people learn more about their own bodies and solve their physical health issues.
With all of this in mind, it’s becoming more and more important for us to gain better access to health care services. Caraway provides young adults with an easier, more convenient way to solve the medical problems, concerns, and irregularities we face so often.
Who can use Caraway?
Caraway is currently available in New York and California, and will soon be rolling out to more states — so be sure to stay tuned to their social media pages for more information!
Their services are tailored to college women+, so they are open to anyone assigned female at birth. Caraway focuses on those between the ages of 18-27. (even those who aren’t currently in college)
How much does Caraway cost?
Right now, Caraway is free. You heard that right.
However, the Caraway membership fee will be $20 per month or $180 per year, and they emphasize that in accessing health care, financial limitations should never be a barrier.
Just sparing a few fancy dinners, or one morning Starbucks a week, can help you gain access to a service you’ll need one day or another — believe me, you’ll thank yourself when you’re not stuck in a waiting room, or spending hours worrying about a medical issue without an immediate way to help. With the continued lack of efficient, straightforward health care services paired with the rise in mental health issues, college students need services like Caraway.
How else can I improve my access to health care?
Other than tackling your limited access to health care on an individual basis, voting is another essential way to help. To all the people whose hearts broke when Roe V. Wade was overturned, and to everyone concerned about the future of the American health care system, now is your chance to exercise your voice and stand up for your rights by voting in the upcoming midterm elections. As always, every vote counts — and this time around, college women need it more than ever.
For a full breakdown of Caraway’s services, please visit their website.