First, don’t forget that there are now lower cost options for women to get new health insurance available through the healthcare exchanges made possible by the Affordable Care Act. And don’t worry if you’ve had previous health issues – these plans can’t turn you away for a preexisting health condition.  Learn more at: www.healthcare.gov.

Paying for Prevention

Most insurance companies provide coverage for both the Pap test and the HPV test. Most states also cover Pap and HPV testing through their Medicaid programs for low-income women. Most large insurance plans usually cover the costs of HPV vaccines as well.

In addition, there are a number of options for free or low-cost screening and vaccines for women without insurance:

1 You can go to a federally-funded health center, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers provide:

  • Checkups when you’re well
  • Treatment when you’re sick
  • Complete care when you’re pregnant
  • Immunizations and checkups for your children
  • Dental care and prescription drugs for your family
  • Mental health and substance abuse care if you need it

Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas. Use the link below to find one in your neighborhood.

findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov

2 Planned Parenthood health centers around the country offer women’s health services that include cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccines. Planned Parenthood works to make health care accessible and affordable. Some health centers are able to charge according to income. Most accept health insurance. If you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs may lower your health care costs.

www.plannedparenthood.org

3 CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women across the United States. Check out the link below to see if you qualify and find a screening provider near you.

www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/screenings

4 The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a private and confidential program that provides vaccines free of charge to eligible adults, primarily the uninsured who, without assistance, could not afford Merck vaccines, including the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/parents/qa-detailed.html#eligibility

5 The Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program is a private and confidential program that provides vaccines free of charge to eligible adults, primarily the uninsured who, without assistance, could not afford Merck vaccines, including the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

www.merck.com/merckhelps/vaccines/

6 The GSK Vaccines Access Program is a patient assistance program sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline that provides GlaxoSmithKline vaccines, including the HPV vaccine Cervarix, to adult applicants who meet eligibility requirements.

www.gsk-vap.com

Financial guidance for treatment

First, speak with your medical team to find out what they charge for surgery and other treatments. Many hospitals have people who can discuss the costs of your hospital stay up front and help you with payment plans. If you have health insurance, call your insurance company and find out what you need to know to be sure as many of your costs are covered as possible. They should be able to tell you what percent of your bills you will be responsible for and if your medical team and hospital are covered in their plan.

It may be hard at first to even track the bills, as well as handle the details of keeping financially afloat. Consider getting financial advice. Find a reputable and certified financial planner or credit counseling agency. If you have assets such as a home to protect, you may need legal advice as well.

Medicaid

If you’re uninsured and don’t have large financial resources, you may be considering Medicaid as your sole option. However, keep in mind that being poor, or even very poor, does not necessarily qualify an individual for Medicaid.

Each state may have its own name for Medicaid, run it differently, and have a different set of eligibility requirements.

You’ll need to apply for Medicaid through your state program. Go to the Benefits.gov website to find out which benefits you may be eligible to receive.