Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines


I just got off the phone with our retirement health care insurance provider.  I asked if HPV vaccines are covered under our policy.  I had been informed at the drugstore that they were not covered and I wanted a reality check.

The CDC currently recommends that all 11 and 12 year old children receive these vaccines.  Further, they recommend "catch-up" vaccinations for boys under 21 and women under 26 years of age.  This virus has been linked to increased risk for cancers of the cervix vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and certain head and neck cancers (specifically, the oropharynx, which includes the back of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils).  If I read this recent article correctly, HPV can be spread by kissing.  Kissing which is a pleasant way to pass the time and usually not considered a hazardous activity when done out-of-sight of overly protective dads.  So HPV is not just a "sinner's disease" that smites only those who engage in Biblically prohibited activities.

So I was surprised to learn that they do not cover the cost of vaccines or most other "preventative" measures like birth control.  That was a big surprise to me.  The vaccine is a bit pricy, about $500 for the series of three shots.  It looks like we will have to find $1000 over the next six months to cover Belladonna and Kubota.

I asked the service representative about compliance to the Affordable Care Act and he informed me that ACA only applies to insurance provided to active employees.

If true, that gives lie to the claim that "the ship left the dock and cannot be recalled" when discussing the Affordable Care Act.  There continues to be an  enormous, parallel, non-Obamacare compliant component to the health system, one that most people will "graduate" to after they retire.


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