“No, I’m not ovary-acting,” Leena Kulkarni writes over at Huffpost. “After an abnormal Pap smear recently, I found myself in need of a colposcopy ― a fairly routine procedure in which doctors use binoculars to search for abnormal cells in the cervix. After visually inspecting my goods, my OBGYN quelled my fears. Everything looked great, they said. Just in case, they took a small specimen to examine as an added precaution. That one trip to the gyno? It cost me $193 out of pocket, excluding the biopsy lab test (which cost an added $115). As a Harvard graduate student in the public health field, I’ve studied the benefits of preventive care and the social determinants that shape our health landscape. So I knew the colposcopy appointment was important, but I still couldn’t get over the price tag. It got me thinking (somewhat facetiously, but not entirely) about the costs of women’s reproductive health care ― specifically, all of the things I could have bought (and that men can buy) if it weren’t for those expenses. For the price of my colposcopy and biopsy, for example, I could’ve purchased an Xbox. Sometimes, it takes a medical scare to do the math. For some Americans (myself included), health insurance and financial privilege render these expenses a nonissue. But for the millions of Americans with uteruses, vaginas and cervixes who are living on $8 an hour or less, these medical bills and upfront costs quickly add up ― my colposcopy appointment alone would’ve taken three eight-hour workdays to pay off. (Note: Not all women have uteruses, and uterus-owners may not identify as women.) But though this protective procedure was costly, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the aggregate of uterus-related spending that accrues over a woman’s lifetime.” Leena Kulkarni, My Uterus Costs More Than A Porsche,” HuffPost.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder