New rules that took effect Jan. 1 are only recently coming to light regarding women’s annual Pap test in Ontario.  Women who want to have the test annually will now have to fork over the cost of the lab fee (around $20), aswell as whatever individual Doctors will charge to administer the test.


Ontario’s Health Insurance Program (OHIP) previously covered one Papanicolaou stain (Pap smear) a year, but recent cost cutting measures now limit the provincial responsibility to covering the test only once every three years.


For such a large change the savings are relatively minimal.  The province is posed to save $1.5 million for 2012/13 and $6.1 million for 2013/14, roughly the projected cost of the 2012/13 irrelevant Office of Francophone Affairs.


The Ontario Liberals cited recently updated Cancer Care Ontario (Pap smear’s are used as a Cancer detection tool) guidelines as the resaon for the change.

“It makes sure that we are making the best use of the limited health care dollars that we have,” Ontario Medication Association (OMA) president Dr. Doug Weir said “If women want a Pap test more frequently than every three years, they’ll have to pay for the lab analysis”


Not all women are subject to the new rules though, those who have had abnormal Pap results, or whose doctors have ordered the exam, do not have to pay for the additional exams.

Cancer Care Ontario’s updated recommendations on cervical cancer now says women should start the test at the age of 21 and be screened every three years until the age of 70 if their results are normal.

Roughly 1350 Canadian women are diagnosed  with cervical cancer annually says The Canadian Cancer Society, and in 2012 390 died from the disease.


Research shows cervical cancer screening  for women in their 40s and older is the most effective as the highest number of cases occur after 40.

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