Tuesday, January 6, 2009

HPV immunization not covered?

My health insurance does NOT cover any of the costs for getting Gardasil, the shot to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  For those of you who do not know about HPV, certain types of HPV cause genital warts or cervical cancer.  Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S. (CDC, 2008).  This is why it's a great idea to protect yourself just like any other vaccination.  Currently, the series of three shots to become protected costs around $375 total ($125/dose).  Right now, I am covered by my mothers insurance because she is a NYS school teacher.  Apparently, BlueCross Blue Shield insurance (very common) does not cover ANY of this large expense.  In my opinion, this vaccination should become as ordinary and common as the Meningitis shot or Hep. B shot.  Considering the amount of males and females who are sexually active before marriage it seems fairly reasonable to have it as a protective measure.  My suggestion is that all insurance companies should cover Gardasil for men and women (if they opt to get it) just like all of the other required shots in the U.S.

Ironically to me, most, if not all insurance companies, cover the costs for Viagra (the drug used to help with erectile dysfunction for men).  4,000 women are dying every year from this virus yet our government feels that it's more necessary to help pay for men who are unable to get erect for intercourse.  I do understand that every man should have the right to be able to procreate and if there's a drug available for them than more power to them.  However, I don't believe our priority is in the right place for all of those men to be covered for erectile dysfunction when all of these women are dying from cervical cancer caused by HPV. Therefore, in my situation, because it was too much money to get the series of shots at any health center I heard about a way of getting it cheaper through Planned Parenthood.  I was forced to lie to Planned Parenthood and say I had no insurance in order to take advantage of their plan meant for people who cannot afford it.  I had to resort to taking the funds from Planned Parenthood, a great organization, in order to become protected from this virus because I did not want to pay the high amount of $375.  I am thankful for this option but it should not be abused by people like me who actually have insurance.  In this case, Gardasil should be at least partially covered, if not all the way covered, by all insurance companies.

Not too long ago this immunization required for all girls in the state of Texas.  This shows the importance of getting the vaccinations.  However, I feel that this should not be a requirement.  People should have the right to decide what goes in their body.  Eventually, Texas decided to change it's mind and not make it a requirement.  I'm glad they revoked it.  I do believe that for those people who are interested in getting it they should be able to get it with their insurance, considering how common cervical cancer is because of HPV.
There seems to be a lot of loopholes in this healthcare system.  The Gardasil immunization should be included in all plans just like all of those other shots.  What's your health input?


  1. This is one of those once again controversial topics that I too have been following for a while now. I agree with you that Gardasil should be made available to all individuals and insurance companies should very well help out with the cost. Along with the cost, possible unknown side effects from Gardasil has kept me from getting the series of shots. I really am not a fan of being a guinea pig for a drug and putting my life in the hands of these drugs of which we often don't learn the nasty side effects until many years later. However, I think Gardasil will likely become a breakthrough drug and hopefully decrease the number of HPV linked cervical cancer cases down the road. I believe you can get the vaccine up until you are 24 years old, so hopefully by then we will hear if the side effects outweigh the positives of this drug.

  2. Wow, I feel that this topic goes along with the prevention vs treatment. It is definitely infuriating that such a seriously preventive vaccine is not covered by health insurance. Alas forcing you to resort to signing up for free coverage and taking funds from others. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the up coming years, and hopefully the positives of the vaccine will be proven, and in turn insurance companies will realize they should cover it.

  3. I wonder, with texas making the immunization of Gardasil a requirement for a period of time, will it be a prerequisite before entering college in the future? STI statistics are high in most college settings. If Gardasil is made a requirement, it could help lower the STI statistics a great deal and not to mention, save a few lives. However more testing of this immunization is required. Gardasil should not be made a requirement until we know all of the short and long term side effects of this immunization.

  4. Most insurance does not cover Gardasil. I had two injections and then a wonderful allergic reaction that landed me in the hospital. That's just me, however, my body is very sensitive. It was my choice to get the drug, and the fact that my insurance didn't cover it was not going to make me forget a broken condom scare. Rest assured it's just another way to shame and marginalize women for wanting an orgasm from something that does not run on Duracel.

    Medical questions and political issues aside, however, I think that keeping young women from having access to this potentially great vaccine is damn stupid and just another example of puritancial tyrannicism and attempted control over female sexual choice. If it were only men who were getting the virus, I'm fairly certain that it would not be such an issue. It would probably be covered as a routine vaccination, just like chicken pox. That's bullshit, as far as I'm concerned. We have a long way to go as women to protect our sexual rights, and insurance companies who deny coverage for a drug that could prevent cancer under the guise of the term "experimental" is crap, particularly if a drug that can give a man a 4 hour hard-on is covered by most insurance without question. Nobody asks where he's going to be dipping his wick; they just want to make sure he can if he wants to.

    My body has a right to protection, and I have a right to protect my body. The lack of insurance coverage isn't going to set me back, it's pretty much just going to piss me off and make me yell even lounder about a woman's sexual self, power, and right to exercise both.