The Cost of Getting a Pap Smear (In Canada)


(All emotional upheaval calculated as a loss at my usual $22/hour freelance rate)


Clinic fee for processing blood work: $20

Fee for losing your provincial health insurance card and having to get a temporary replacement document faxed to the clinic: $23

Time lost due to health card mishap (1/2 hour): $11

Annoyance at my inability to not lose important documentation (1 hour): $22

Total time spent worrying about potential awkward conversations with past partners (pending test results), spread over weeks prior to appointment (3 hours): $66

Heart-sinking feeling experienced upon realization that I will not be given a gown, and will have to walk the six feet between chair and examination table bare-assed in a tee shirt, with the doctor in the room (1/2 hour): $11

Self-chastisement over watching Vagina dentata-themed horror comedy Teeth days before appointment (1/2 hour): $11

Distress over hearing doctor telling me to “slide down” in the exact same tone as the predatory OBGYN in Teeth (1/4 hour): $5.50

Cost of yeast infection prescription creams: $20.22

Cost of 250 ml bottle of non-abrasive ladybits soap (“It also works great on your face!” —The Doctor): $7.99

Cost of congratulatory bag of chocolate-dipped pretzels: $3.99
SUBTOTAL: $201.70

Relief upon hearing that that itch is only a yeast infection. No awkward phone calls necessary (2 hours): + $44

Amount of prescription potentially refunded by health insurance: + $12.25

Amount of prescription actually refunded by health insurance because, let’s face it, I will probably forget to do the paperwork: $0

Pride felt for doing responsible, grownup health things (1 hour): + $22


TOTAL COST: $135.70


Alyssa F. is a freelance writer and designer based in Montreal, Quebec. She is the assistant publisher at Maisonneuve magazine and also has a blog, Unfridged. Follow her at @AlyssaFavreau.


13 Comments / Post A Comment

Kate (#1,408)

I’m very interested in what things cost around the world, but super disinterested in combing through a bunch of $22/hr emotional upheaval to calculate that oh, the pap smear/treatment/soap actually cost $48 all told.

(NB: I’m kind of a curmudgeon and bad at math.)

Meaghano (#529)

@Kate Heh, well this is the Billfold, we like to talk about feelings!

cupcake_engineer (#4,036)

@Kate I live in Canada too (Ontario) and the last time I had a pap smear (in March), it was completely covered by the provincial health system. Yay free.

Kate (#1,408)

@cupcake_engineer YES! This was my other thought, where do you live in Canada that you are paying $200 (except obvs. not actually $200) for a pap smear?!

shannowhamo (#845)

@Kate I kind of get your complaint but once I figured out the style of the piece I was okay with it. Just a case of adjusting expectations.

j a y (#3,935)

@Kate Agreed, the form got in the way of the function here. I’m fine with cutesy and a subtotal for ‘actual monetary outlay for the actual procedure minus insurance refund’ would’ve gone a long way.

OllyOlly (#669)

Does anyone ever sit at the right spot on the examination table on first try?? Never in my life have I not been told to slide down and I feel like I should be able to adapt to this by now.

Meaghano (#529)

@OllyOlly Oh man so true. Maybe it’s a natural hesitation to be the one who slides down TOO FAR. Can you imagine if the doctor was like, Miss, I don’t need to see THAT much, please scoot up.

Alyssa (#6,586)

@Meaghano That is a whole other kind of horror story.

garli (#4,150)

@OllyOlly It’s just such an unnatural way to sit that you need a little encouragement to get there.

shannowhamo (#845)

@Alyssa I think I’d be proud! Like “I’m THIS confident about my vagina!”

Meaghano (#529)

@shannowhamo guys I came back here to say that I had an OBGYN appointment this morning and my doctor literally said, “Okay you don’t need to slide down THAT far, but I appreciate it.”

Cat Named Louise (#1,943)

Also, now you know it’s a yeast infection and from here on in it will probably always be a yeast infection! It’s a crummy problem, but knowing the answer makes you a lady who knows her stuff!

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