How Much Does a Pap Smear Cost?

Gynecological examination
Gynecological examination. Getty Images/Angela Wyant/The Image Bank

The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, should make this question less common for women in the United States. Pap smears are covered by most insurance plans with no out-of-pocket cost. They are one of the preventative services recommended to be performed without a co-pay. If you have been able to get insurance, check with your plan to see if it is covered and whether there is any co-pay.

Pap Smear Cost Without Insurance in the United States

The cost of a Pap smear varies among doctor's offices.

The cost can range from $50 through $200. Some offices have a discounted price for uninsured women, while others have a standard rate.

Your best bet would be to call around to several physicians in your area to compare costs. When you do call doctor's offices, make sure the fee quoted includes the office visit fee, the fee for the Pap smear, and a lab fee. Some offices do not charge a lab fee, rather allowing the lab to bill you later. You want to know all the associated costs upfront, so there will be no unexpected charges later.

Finding a Free or Low Cost Pap Smear

If your yearly income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for a free or low-cost screening through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). The CDC has an interactive map showing programs by state, as well as specific services for Native Americans.

    The federal poverty level varies yearly, and there are specific levels for Alaska and Hawaii. Use this chart to see what the 250% level is for your household size and the state where you reside:

    Pap smears may also be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, check with your plan for coverage.

    Another alternative to going to a private practice physician would be to go to your local Planned Parenthood or county health department. Both offer free or low cost Pap smears to low income and/or uninsured women. Please note that most county health departments treat low-income people, so you may not qualify for their services. However, I would definitely check with Planned Parenthood if your income level exceeds the allowable amount at your county health department.

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