Too much cost, too litttle coverage

States should mandate cervical cancer vaccine for young women.

There is a widely available vaccine that can prevent 70 percent of cervical cancers. However, due to the high cost of the treatment series and the poor coverage offered by many insurance plans, many women are unable to afford it.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has added Gardasil to their recommended list of routinely administered vaccines. According to this recommendation, girls should be immunized at ages 10-12. Gardasil is also approved for girls as young as nine to women 26 years old.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has mandated that all 11- to 12-year-old girls be vaccinated, disregarding the formation of legislation. Starting in September of next year, all sixth-grade girls will be immunized.

However, the rest of the country has not yet latched on to the idea of preventing some cervical cancer types with a vaccine.

Merck Co., the developer of the vaccine, is charging $120 per dose, resulting in the entire three-dose series treatment costing $360 per patient. Many insurance companies aren’t covering much of the cost, some as little as $2 per dose. Although Merck has asked insurers to cover 17 percent above the cost of the series’ cost, most haven’t nibbled at the idea.

Female University students can get vaccinated at Boynton, but the cost isn’t covered by the student services fee and would be forwarded to individual student’s insurance providers. Those who have University sponsored Student Health Benefit Plans should check their coverage agreements or Boynton to find out how much of the vaccines cost would be reimbursed.

It is monumental to have a vaccine that can prevent four types of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. However, it is unfortunate that many women can’t afford to pay for the immunization.

States should require Gardasil be added to their immunization schedules and insurers to cover significantly more of the cost.