How to Get the HPV Test

Q

What do you need to do to make sure your doctor or nurse asks the lab to perform the HPV test if your Pap is inconclusive?

A

You have already taken a positive step toward taking control of your health by visiting this Web site to learn about HPV and the HPV test.

The next step is to take action!

Ask your doctor or nurse if he or she tells the lab to do an HPV test if your Pap is inconclusive ("ASC-US"). Most do. But if not, ask the office to do so — for your extra peace of mind, and to minimize the need for unnecessary additional procedures.

Note: You may not know if your doctor or nurse has ordered an HPV test for you, unless you ask. First, make sure that you find out your Pap results. After your exam, ask the doctor or nurse about how long it will take to get the results, and how you will be informed of them. (It is a good idea to ask for them in writing.) If you don't hear from the office, take the initiative and call! If you are told that your Pap was inconclusive (or "ASC-US"), and no mention is made of your HPV results, ask!



Q

Will insurance pay for the HPV test?

A

Most insurance companies provide coverage for HPV testing. In fact, Maryland, Texas, New Mexico, West Virginia, North Carolina and California now require private health insurers in their states to cover HPV testing as recommended by medical guidelines (routinely for women 30 and over, and as a follow-up evaluation for an inconclusive Pap for women 20+).

However, your insurance coverage for HPV testing may depend on your age. Health plans typically pay for HPV testing for women under 30 when used to follow up on an inconclusive Pap. Routine HPV testing – which is approved by the FDA only for women 30 and over (no matter what their Pap results) – may not be reimbursed for younger women.

If your plan requires you to satisfy a deductible before it pays for any type of preventive care (including the Pap), or to pay a flat co-fee or percentage for each test, you may still receive a charge. Make sure you know your plan’s policies.

Note that if you have to pay any portion of the cost for HPV testing, you will be billed directly by the laboratory your doctor or nurse uses to run the test. The cost for the HPV test will not be included in the charges from your doctor's office.



Q

Can you ask for the HPV test even if your Pap is normal?

A

Medical guidelines currently recommend routine HPV testing only for women age 30 and older, and this is the guideline typically used by insurance plans when determining payment.

However, if this is important to you, discuss your request with your doctor or nurse.