I had an Anthem Blue Cross plan with a $2500 deductible. I had a doctor that, instead of giving me a LEEP procedure, decided to take a “wait and see” approach to my abnormal pap smears- for two years, costing me well over $2,000 in pap smears and biopsies. Pap smears cost me $200 each and biopsies were $600-$800 each. This doctor told me the LEEP procedure was reserved for more persistent HPV cases or for women who were not planning on having children. She said it was a very painful procedure which might require hospitalization and several days off of work for recovery.

Right before Christmas, my doctor called me again to tell me about how I needed to come back in for another biopsy… my fourth now… right before Christmas. I decided to get a second, much cheaper, opinion. So I went to Planned Parenthood.

The pap smear was $75. The biopsy was $75. Then they suggested the LEEP procedure which was $400 which I agreed to. My subsequent pap smears have all come back normal. $550 total. I would have saved myself a substantial chunk of cash going to PP in the first place. PP got the problem taken care of in under 2 months.

The LEEP procedure, it turns out, is much less painful than the biopsies and was done in an outpatient facility. I recovered the same day. I’m confused as to why the first doctor I went to described the procedure to me the way she did. She was either A) not familiar with the procedure or B) she was trying to draw out my treatment for her own financial gain. I find both possibilities deeply disturbing.

The PP staff were always baffled as to why I was choosing to use their services instead of going to a “regular” doctor. This was why: I had to pay out-of-pocket for everything anyway, so why not go to the cheapest (yet still safe and trustworthy) provider? AND – PP is non-profit so they have an incentive to keep treatment costs down.

So yes, PP provides abortions to people who seek them. They also provide access to necessary healthcare at a reasonable cost. They also strive to be efficient in their treatments and not put the patient through more procedures than are necessary. They seek to educate their patients instead of withholding important information- in this way, they empower the patient. This was a much safer place for me to go. I only wish it didn’t take me two years and two-thousand dollars to figure that out.