Self-care is not only about treating yourself to a trip to the spa or taking a day off, it’s also about taking care of your body and getting your annual exams done. As much as women dread going to their OB/GYN for their annual pap smear and pelvic exam, it’s essential all women get these done as a form of prevention. Unfortunately, many women skip having regular pap smears or getting the care they need due to financial struggles and not qualifying for health insurance.
Luckily, the government as well as nonprofit programs provide options so that no woman has to go without proper medical attention.
PP is a nonprofit organization that offers reproductive and sexual health care to individuals regardless if they have health insurance or not. They can provide low-cost or even free prenatal care and pap smears as well as other services such as HIV/STD testing and birth control.
Costs and qualification levels vary by state so be sure to contact your local Planned Parenthood office for more details!
Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps with medical costs for eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors. Each state has different requirements when it comes to eligibility but if you are pregnant and in need of medical benefits, then most offices require the following: proof of pregnancy, income, citizenship or non-citizenship.
This program is probably the best option if you're pregnant because it helps you receive all care related to pregnancy such as prenatal care, delivery, any complications that may arise during your pregnancy as well as up to 60 days postpartum.
The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
This federally funded program gives eligible women ages 18 to 64 the ability to get regular Pap smears as well as undergo breast and cervical cancer screening. If you find yourself uninsured, underinsured or with a yearly income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level then you may qualify for this program and simply have to call the toll free number for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in your state for more info.
Community Health Clinics
Regardless of your income or insurance status, there are community health clinics all across the country that can help provide little to no cost women’s health services which even include cervical cancer screening.
To find a clinic near you, use the U.S. Department of Health’s clinic locator by clicking here.
If you are in a bit of a bind and find that you need medical attention sooner rather than later then many doctors and hospitals offer payment plans and sometimes even offer discounts up to as much as 20 or 30 percent if paying cash.
Being uninsured can be a stressful thing to deal with but know that there are options out there so just be sure to do all of your research, read the fine print and above all get the care that you need!