Paying for it

Health insurance coverage for testing and the vaccine | Financial help for testing and the vaccine | Financial guidance for paying for treatment

Treating abnormal cells can be expensive. Treating cervical cancer is much more so. It’s often pricey even if you’re insured. It can be unbelievably expensive if you’re not.

But don’t despair. Tamika & Friends exists to work with you. See Get Support. We will work with you on helping you to get the medical services you need.

Health insurance coverage for testing and the vaccine

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.

To prevent surprises, we recommend you ask your insurer about coverage. Please keep in mind that even if you are covered, you may still be charged a deductible, flat co-pay, or percentage of the cost.

Also, if your insurance requires you to pay any part of the laboratory cost, you will be billed directly by the lab that runs the test. The lab cost isn’t included in the charges from your healthcare provider’s office.

If your plan doesn’t cover testing at all, consider making your employer aware that this benefit would help all female employees.

If, on the other hand, you think you are covered but you receive a bill, some manufacturers of the FDA-approved products described below can help you.

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Financial help for testing and the vaccine

Testing and drug companies

  • QIAGEN provides the digene® HPV Test. For more information on this test go to thehpvtest.com.
    If your insurance claim is denied, call QIAGEN’S reimbursement hotline: 1-866-895-1HPV. A benefits specialist will work with your health plan to determine why your claim was denied. If appropriate the specialist can help you submit an appeal.
  • Merck provides GARDASIL®, the HPV vaccine.
    For more information, go to www.gardasil.com. You also can call 1-800-GARDASIL.

    GARDASIL provides financial assistance through the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program. Read more at: www.gardasil.com/what-is-gardasil/hpv-and-gardasil/assistance-programs/index.html

The U.S. government

The U.S. government publishes an online fact sheet on obtaining a free or low-cost Pap test at www.womenshealth.gov/faq/pap-test.cfm#pap17

In particular take a look at programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) runs programs in every state. Go to apps.nccd.cdc.gov/cancercontacts/nbccedp/contacts.asp to find a program in your area. Or call 1-800-232-4636.

For vaccines, children age 18 and younger may be eligible to get the HPV vaccine for free through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Children must be Medicaid eligible, uninsured, or American Indian/Alaska Native. Go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/ to learn more.

Other options

  • Planned Parenthood offers extensive gynecologic services, including the Pap and HPV tests, and the HPV vaccine. Their rates are determined by your income level. To find the Planned Parenthood office in your area, call 1-800-230-7526 or visit their web site at: www.ppfa.org.
  • The American Cancer Society lists local resources: www.cancer.org/asp/search/crd/crd_global.asp. Check the appropriate category and type your zip code.
  • Your local community or public health clinics may also offer the Pap and HPV tests, as well as the vaccine, at reduced or income-determined rates. Contact your State Health Department or local health department to locate such programs.
  • Ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a hospital offering Pap and HPV testing. Many hospitals or hospital clinics offer free or reduced-cost services to patients without health insurance.

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Financial guidance for paying for treatment

Regardless of whether you were employed or unemployed before your cancer, how much money you make, if you have health insurance, whether you still have your job, are still too ill to work, or are looking for a new job, money will probably be an issue.

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. If you have assets such as a home to protect, you may need legal advice as well.

Our tip to you: You can easily find all kinds of people, with all kinds of fancy “certifications,” who will be happy to take your money. They aren’t always what they seem. Ask around. Get informed. When you find a licensed organization, research it carefully. Consult your local Better Business Bureau. Don’t sign anything without thinking long and hard about it first.

The paragraphs below describes some places to start your research

Financial planners

Credit counselors

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 at www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits_en.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=gbcc_page_locate_state&_nfls=false. Select your state and in the list of programs find your state’s Medicaid office.
  • You can also look at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at www.cms.hhs.gov/medicaideligibility/. This provides an overview of Medicaid eligibility. Click the Contact Information for State Medicaid Offices link at the bottom of the page. (Strangely, this link returns a search form whose Organization Type choices do not include State Medicaid Offices. However, if you select State Health Departments and/or State Medical Assistance Office you can access some useful state resources.)

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Tamika & Friends is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from QIAGEN.