Cost and Insurance Coverage of Gardasil, the HPV Vaccine

How can you pay for the gardasil HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccine
HPV vaccine. Getty Images/Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice

What Is Gardasil and HPV?

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. HPV is a virus that is sexually transmitted. In some cases, HPV causes genital warts; in other cases the virus has no obvious harmful effect. In some cases, however, HPV can cause cervical and other cancers. HPV 16 and HPV 18 have been identified as the viruses most likely to cause genital warts and cancer. 

The HPV vaccines, called Gardasil®, Gardasil 9®, and Cervarix®, protect against the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.

The vaccine is specifically recommended for both boys and girls ages 11 or 12, though others can benefit from its protection. According to the CDC:

The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a more robust immune response during the preteen years....All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get the three-dose series of HPV vaccine to protect against HPV. Teen boys and girls who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger should get it now. Young women can get HPV vaccine through age 26, and young men can get vaccinated through age 21. The vaccine is also recommended for any man who has sex with men through age 26, and for men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get HPV vaccine when they were younger.

What Does Gardasil Cost?

A patient paying out of pocket for Gardasil will pay $120 per dose.Three doses are required over a 6-month period, making the total cost for the HPV vaccine $360.

On top of that, some doctors are charging office visit fees when the vaccine is given.

The vast majority of large health insurance providers cover Gardasil, but that varies from company to company. Most that offer coverage for Gardasil only do so for females age 9 to 26, the age group for which the vaccine is FDA-approved.

There is no current legislation that requires insurance providers to cover the costs of Gardasil. You can always call your insurance provider to determine if it covers the vaccine. Your doctor's front office staff may be able to tell if your provider covers the costs as well.

Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, does have a patient vaccine patient assistance program, and offers financial support if needed for patients up to age 26.

Gardasil is also covered under a federal program available to uninsured and Medicaid eligible children under 18. This makes the vaccine free to eligible children. According to the CDC:

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children. Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native or have no health insurance. "Underinsured" children who have health insurance that does not cover vaccination can receive VFC vaccines through Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers.

More information: 3 Things Parents Need to Know about Preventing Cancers


American Cancer Society. What is the HPV vaccine? Web, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."Sexually Transmitted Diseases." HPV and HPV Vaccine - Information for Healthcare Providers. Aug 2006.

Planned Parenthood Website, 2016. HPV vaccine."Web.

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