There are approximately 33 million people living in the United States without health insurance and plenty of them are women who need specialized care. The most beneficial reason to see a gynecologist annually is to have a pap smear performed. Cervical cancer touches around 12,000 American women every year. Despite that, as many as 8 million have gone as long as five years without a screening. Often, the reason is a lack of insurance.
While some people view a family doctor as all they’ll ever need, gynecological care is an important part of womanhood. Females should start seeking specialized care by their adult years, if not when menses start. It only benefits the patient to have a long-standing relationship with their gynecologist prior to when they actually need them. No one wants to scramble to locate one after a pap smear comes back with abnormal results or they find themselves pregnant.
The cost to visit a gynecologist varies both by region and state, and also depends on the services the patient is seeking. A typical consultation to meet and greet may cost less than an appointment for a full exam, which generally runs patients around $150. This type of appointment usually consists of time to talk with the doctor about health history and any present concerns, a vaginal exam to check the condition of the uterus and cervix, and prescriptions if any are necessary at the time.
Additional services come with additional costs. A urinalysis pregnancy test might cost $50, but a quantitative or qualitative HCG panel done through bloodwork could run you hundreds. Further blood tests for any sexually transmitted diseases vary widely depending on the test; urine tests for urinary tract infections can cost as much as $200. A pap smear generally costs between $20 and $40, but with the lack of transparency that exists in the medical system—and with the overall tolerance Americans lend to healthcare costs—some labs are charging as much as $1,000 for the routine screening. Outside of prescription birth control pills and patches, there are implants like IUDs and the arm implant—Nexplanon. Having these devices placed by a gynecologist may come with a price tag as high as a couple thousand dollars.
If these prices leave you feeling a little queasy, rest assured that most doctors’ offices will work with you. Some doctor’s will reduce your total bill if you pay on the day of service in cash. Many offer other payment plans and some might even have references available for free clinics and other locations where you can receive the same health services at a discounted rate. Also, most states offer free or reduced cost physical exams through local health departments. Women may be able to seek free annual exams, birth control, testing for STDs, and other services through these outlets. These options may benefit the patient far better than spending hundreds or even thousands to see a gynecologist without health insurance coverage.