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Safe sex is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s recommended that every adult who is sexually active be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) regularly, and this isn’t a suggestion. Doctors suggest you should go get yourself tested every 6-12 months.
People who lead a bit more active sex lives should think about upping the ante and get tested more frequently. Since doctors are recommending these trips to get tested fairly often, you may be wondering about the associated costs, and more importantly, will your insurance cover STD testing?
Well, we got the answers for you. Here’s everything you need to know about your coverage and how to take advantage of free testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
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STD Insurance Coverage: What Is And Isn’t Covered
STD testing can be done as either a preventative (before there is an STD present or before there are notable symptoms) or as part of an exam to figure out existing symptoms. Most types of insurance will cover some of the cost of testing and treatment for the latter, but there may be restrictions on what the insurance provider will cover for the former.
Screenings may not be part of STD insurance coverage if there are no symptoms at the time of the request, unfortunately. Insurance will probably cover some or all of the cost of medications and treatments if you do test positive for an STD.
In other cases, your STD insurance coverage may allow for screenings during some types of routine checkups and physical exams and will probably cover the cost of the lab work.
Free STD Screenings & Other Options
In most areas of the country, there are options to get STD testing with a sliding fee scale which can bring your cost down to nothing. Using your current monthly income and family size, the sliding fee scale will give you a rate for care that is affordable. People who have an income below the federal poverty rate will qualify for free testing and other treatment.
These options can include the local Planned Parenthood office, free and low-cost health clinics, and in some cities, the local health department. For the health department, there may be a limited type of testing that they will be able to do and it may relate to outbreaks in that area.
For example, if there is a sudden increase in cases of chlamydia, that will be the focus of the testing the health department does. Some do some basic STD testing on a limited basis.
Other Options To Consider
At home testing as well as direct to lab testings are viable options and have a number of benefits. With at-home testing, you do not have to sit in the waiting room. You don’t have to worry that people are judging you for walking into a clinic. You won’t have to fight through crowds of protesters at a Planned Parenthood who do not care nor believe that you are there for simple testing as they shout hurtful things at you.
There are several ways to find these at home tests. You simply order the type of test that you need and follow the directions for obtaining the correct sample. You then ship your samples back to the company where it will be tested. You will receive your results via an online account or directly to your email.
The entire process can take two or three weeks depending on the speed of the mail in your area. You should note that these tests can actually be on the pricey side because of the cost of shipping back and forth.
The other option involves ordering the lab tests that you need and then going to a special lab or clinic to get your blood drawn or to provide a urine sample. There are many of these labs across the country but there is a chance that you will live in an area that is not served by one of these that is within a realistic distance. Some of these clinics can also have extremely long wait times especially on certain days of the week. You can set up an appointment but that may only reduce your waiting time slightly.
It is important to get the testing done as needed and to always practice safe sex.