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How Much Does a Pap Smear Cost Without Insurance in 2021?

Alyssa Corso20 Aug 2021

Pap smears test for abnormal cell change in the cervix, which could lead to cervical cancer. Pap tests can also find cell changes caused by HPV. Planned Parenthood, urgent care centers, OB/GYN offices, and The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offer pap smears. The national average cost of a pap smear with a pelvic exam costs $331, while a pap smear alone costs between $39 and $125.

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The Cost of a Pap Smear without Insurance

A pap smear costs between $39- $125 without insurance. The costs shown below do not include a pelvic exam, which is usually provided with a pap smear. 

Below we outline the out-of-pocket cost for a pap smear at various medical centers in different cities and states. Please keep in mind that this is the pap smear's cost alone, not including additional services.

ClinicCost
StatCare Urgent Care, New York, NY$65
Maine Health, Biddeford, ME$39
Landmark Family Healthcare, Londonderry, NH$77
Women's Health Care Tampa, Tampa, FL$125
Medical Arts OBGYN, San Mateo, CA$50

Source: https://www.statcarewalkin.com/ourservices/urgent-care-costs-fees-prices-vaccines-visits-treatments-nyc/visit/ , https://nhhealthcost.nh.gov/provider/maine-health?carrier=uninsured&cost_type=medical#costs , https://nhhealthcost.nh.gov/provider/landmark-family-healthcare?carrier=uninsured&cost_type=medical#costs , https://clearhealthcosts.com/blog/procedure/pap-smear/?zip_code=&radius=5&no_zero=1&submit=  

Additional Costs for a Pap Smear

When paying for a pap smear out-of-pocket, you will likely incur additional charges. Below we outline possible additional services that you should be aware of.

Additional ServicesCost Range
Gynecological or pelvic exam$90-$360
Lab testing$75-$129
Office/ Follow-up visit$100-$381

Sources: https://clearhealthcosts.com/blog/2012/12/how-much-does-an-annual-well-woman-exam-cost-things-you-should-know/ , https://www.mdsave.com/procedures/obgyn-new-patient-office-visit/d581fd 

Factors that Influence the Cost of a Pap Smear

When receiving a pap smear, your cost will be influenced by various factors. 

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Lab testing

After your healthcare provider takes the sample, it will be analyzed in a laboratory to identify any abnormal cells. Since it needs to be taken to a lab, you will likely incur an additional lab charge on your bill.

Your location

Due to lack of price regulation, the cost of healthcare services varies depending on which city and state you live in. When it comes to getting a pap smear, the chart above shows that it costs $65 at a medical center in New York but $39 at a provider in Maine.

Where you receive the test

Where you go to receive a pap smear will influence how much it costs. The cost for a pap smear at Planned Parenthood, for example, may be based on your income. However, at a private OB/GYN, the cost will be established, and you will have to request the cost for an out-of-pocket visit.

Pap Smear Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below we answer some frequently asked questions about pap smears.

What is a pap smear?

Pap tests, often called Pap smears, test for cervical cancer abnormal cell changes in the cervix. Pap tests can also find cell changes caused by HPV (human papillomavirus), but they don't detect HPV itself. Pap tests may be part of your regular check-up, pelvic exam, or women's wellness exam. 

What can I expect during my pap smear?

During a Pap test, your doctor or nurse puts a metal or plastic speculum into your vagina. The speculum opens up to separate the walls of your vagina so that they can get to your cervix. Then they use a small sampler, a tiny spatula, or a brush — to gently collect cells from your cervix. The cells are sent to a lab to be tested. They only take a few minutes and it typically doe not hurt. You may feel some discomfort or pressure during the test.

Who should get a pap smear?

It's typical to start getting regular pap smears at age 21. How often you get tested after that depends on your age, medical history, and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests. In general, these are the guidelines:

  • If you’re 21–29 years old, you should get a Pap test once every 3 years (at age 25, your doctor may switch to an HPV test).
  • If you’re 30–65 years old, get a Pap test and HPV test (co-testing) once every 5 years, or just a Pap test or HPV test every 3 years.
  • If you’re older than 65, you may not need Pap tests anymore.

Please note that you may need to get tested more often if you’ve had problems with your cervix before, have a weak immune system, or if your mother took a medicine called DES while she was pregnant with you. Your doctor or nurse will tell you which tests you need and how often you should get them.

Where can I get a pap smear?

Pap smears are usually available at the following healthcare providers:

Planned Parenthood

Your local Planned Parenthood may offer low-cost Pap smears. Planned Parenthood is an organization that offers sexual and reproductive health care to individuals, regardless of income. You can find your local Planned Parenthood clinic by visiting their website or calling (800) 230-PLAN.

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The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is a federally funded program that helps uninsured and underinsured women get regular Pap smears. The program is available to eligible women ages 21-64 who are not insured (or whose insurance does not cover screening exams) and whose yearly income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. 

Women between the ages of 40 and 64 can also undergo breast cancer screening. Some women who are younger or older than these ages may also qualify based on risk factors.

Depending on your needs, services offered by the program may include:

  • Pap smears (cytology)
  • HPV testing
  • Pelvic exams
  • Clinical breast exams
  • Mammograms
  • Diagnostic testing (further testing that may be needed if your results are abnormal)
  • Treatment referrals (if treatment is needed based on your results)

Urgent Care 

Many urgent care centers such as FastMed, CityMD, and more, offer pap tests and other OB/GYN services. Other women's services that can be treated at urgent care centers include:

  • Urinary complaints
  • Vaginal complaints (i.e., bleeding, discharge, itchiness, dryness)
  • Abdominal/pelvic pain or cramping
  • Abnormal menstruation
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Hemorrhoids & abscess
  • IV fluids for dehydration
  • Morning sickness
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Referrals for ultrasound
  • Referrals to board-certified OB/GYN and Reproductive Health specialists

If you can't afford urgent care center, you can become a Mira member for just $45/mo. Your urgent care visit will be completely covered, and you will have access to low-cost lab testing and prescription discounts.

Women's Health Centers or Clinics

Women's health centers offer care and support to help women manage their health. They oftentimes have doctors and specialists offering a wide range of services, including women’s primary care, family planning, prenatal through delivery care, midwifery services, OBGYN, mammograms, screenings, postpartum care, along with other services.

Insurance is typically taken at these centers or clinics. If you are uninsured, many places will work with you so you can afford your visit. 

OB/GYN

When seeing your OB/GYN for your annual visit, they will likely perform a Pap smear. 

How do I know if I have abnormal pap smear results?

If abnormal or unusual cells were discovered during your pap smear, you would have a positive result. However, a positive result doesn't mean you have cervical cancer. What a positive result means depends on the type of cells discovered in your test.

 If your Pap smear is abnormal, your doctor may perform a colposcopy procedure using a special magnifying instrument (colposcope) to examine the tissues of the cervix, vagina, and vulva. Your doctor also may take a tissue sample (biopsy) from any areas that appear abnormal. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and a definitive diagnosis.

Bottom Line

While pap smears can be costly when adding additional costs such as a pelvic exam, follow-ups visits, and other medical services, there are ways to avoid these high costs. 

One way to avoid high costs is by using Mira. For $45 per month, you can get access to low-cost lab testing, discounted prescriptions, affordable urgent care visits, and more. If you need a pap smear, our customer service team will help you find a location you can afford. Sign up today.