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How much does an annual well-woman exam cost? Things you should know

Posted by on December 5, 2012

Summary: How much does an annual well-woman gynecological exam cost? It’s recommended that all adult women have an annual gynecological exam — also known as a “well woman exam” — that includes a health history, breast exam, pelvic exam, Pap smear, physical exam and complete health screening. But what does it cost? Well, that depends.Keep reading for more locations and advice, or…

 

 


Need a well-woman exam? New York City and the tri-state area — as well as other metro areas — are full of low-cost and subsidized health clinics that perform  such exams for women of all income levels, many offering sliding-scale payment plans.

These types of visits can cost anywhere from nothing at all to more than $300 — and the price can include a whole lot, or very little, so it’s important to ask what you’re getting for your money.

If you have a regular provider and the exam is covered by your insurance plan, with or without a co-pay, maybe this isn’t important. But if you’re uninsured, or out of pocket, it matters a lot.

We surveyed New York City area providers for their prices, and found a range from $20 to $360. Here’s the page of results for the cost of a well-woman exam in the New York area. Here’s the page of results for the cost of a well-woman exam in the San Francisco area. Here’s a list of results for the cost of a well-woman exam in the Los Angeles area.

Here are results for the cost of a well-woman exam in the Houston area, and for the Dallas area.

Prices can vary a quite a bit by age. One San Francisco clinic, UCSF Gynecology on Sutter Street, had a range of prices depending on age: for women 18-39, the price was $450, with a 40% discount for cash; for women 40-64, the price is $528 with a 40% discount;  for 65 or older,  the price is $579 with a 40% discount for cash.

At the Greenburgh Health Center on Tarrytown Road in Greenburgh, N.Y., the sliding scale holds prices ranging from $20 to $60 depending on income and family size for this facility, serving the medically needy.

Planned Parenthood has a sliding scale, as do a number of other clinics, especially community health centers.

For a number of clinics we talked to, the new-patient price was higher than the price for a returning patient.

One of the most important elements of a well-woman exam is a Pap smear — a screening to detect pre-cancerous cells in the cervix — and sometimes, they’re covered in the cost of a doctor’s visit. But some clinics charge an additional lab fee to process the test, ranging from $55 to $600 (the office manager for one clinic that charges hundreds of dollars for a Pap smear on top of $150 office visit fee said they often send low-income clients to Planned Parenthood, where an all-inclusive exam costs $175.)

Here’s our list of prices for a Pap smear in the New York area.

Here’s our list of prices for a Pap smear in the Los Angeles area. Here’s a list of prices for a pap smear in the San Francisco area.

Of course, it often makes sense to ensure that whoever is doing the Pap smear is sending it to a participating lab, if you’re covered by insurance. We all want to avoid the nasty surprise of a “nonparticipating lab” bill.

The moral of the story? Don’t assume all tests are included in an office visit, and ask about lab fees: they can be double or triple the price of the visit.

 


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