Sliding Fee Scale at Planned Parenthood

Updated on October 28, 2012
E.V. asks from Tempe, AZ
14 answers

Few days ago I had this abdominal pain and I posted here about that. We didn't go to ER at that time because our insurance representative wasn't helpful at that time so I have no idea if I can go there or not. We have no car, so we only have one hospital nearby. Luckily the pain was not that bad. I still feel it, but manageable.

A mom asked why I don't apply for state insurance. I'd love to, but Arizona doesn't allow J1 and J2 visa holder to apply any public assistance program ( AHCCCS/Medicare, food stamps, sliding fee scale etc).

I went to two cinics yesterday, a health center where my family doctoris located. The front desk told me that she is only available on November 20th. If I want sooner than that, I must go to urgent care. I told my friend about this. She asked me if I have pap smear already? My last pap smear was 3 years ago. She said it is useless because family doctor will ask you if you have papsmear or not. The bill will be a lot. For me who can't qualify sliding fee scale, the doctor's appointment itself will be 362 bucks. Papsmear is not yetincluded.

So I went to Planned Parenthood and asked the price for whole reproductive exam ( breast, pelvic and papsmear), it is 168 dollars. But they also have sliding fee scale for the qualified. I want to know if I disobey the law or not. Is Planned Parenthood subsidized by government? The girl said no, it is federal. Isn't federal and government the same? I have asked some international supervisors for students, but they also have no idea. Basically, this law is new ( 2011). So, what would you suggest for me? I haven't had my period. I had pregnancy test, negative so it is not ectopic pregnancy. Thanks so much.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would tell PP that you need a full exam and can pay sliding scale. I don't think you need to go through all of that for a card etc. Just pay based on income and you should be fine! Hope you feel better.

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answers from San Diego on

You are the exact kinds of women Planned Parenthood is there to help. The people working there will be familiar with all laws etc and will be able to tell you exactly what you can qualify for and will not encourage you to break any laws so you can get the medical help that you need. Planned Parenthood gets some funds from the United States (Federal) Government to help pay for the cost of general women's health care such as pap smears, mammograms, treatments of UTIs and yeast infections etc. They also get money from public donations to help with the costs of care for those that are less fortunate and can not pay for it. Please go see them so you can get well. No one should live with pain and illness because they can't pay and Planned Parenthood has that very belief.

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answers from San Francisco on

Planned Parenthood is not subsidized by your state government, so your state government's rules about public health insurance do not apply. It receives federal funding for exactly this type of thing - mammogram, pap smear, birth control prescriptions, that kind of thing. You do not have to be a citizen to go. Also, since Planned Parenthood is ALSO privately funded (by donations from ordinary people), even if there were a law against you receiving federal funding (there is NOT such a law, but if there were), you could still go. This resource is there for people just like you. Make use of it! Best of luck to you!

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answers from Boston on

I agree with the other posts that said Planned Parenthood is absolutely there for women like you - they receive some federal funding (which may be ended depending on who wins the election) but the sliding scale is a PP program that makes up the difference between the actual cost and the amount you are given to pay, using private donations from ordinary people and sometimes from foundations or other groups that support good causes.

Go get checked out. And an ectopic pregnancy sometimes produces less hormone and a pregnancy test might still come out negative. If you have shoulder pain, that's a red flag.

It's wonderful that you want to do the right thing according to the law. You also need to do the right thing for yourself.

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answers from Washington DC on

Everyone can go to Planned Parenthood. That's what it's there for, so that women have access to health service regardless of circumstance.

Yes, Planned Parenthood get's some federal money, but it ISN'T a government program. You wouldn't be breaking the the law and using government assistance... you are using a private service which itself get's government assistance, but it isn't YOU getting public assistance.

I haven't been to Planned Parenthood in years because we have private insurance, but unless things have changed, their sliding scales are pretty much based on you TELLING them what you can or can't pay. If you have insurance, they'll bill your insurance first, but if not they'll work with you.

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answers from Dallas on

Planned Parenthood does get some funds from the government. However, it is not a government insurance program. You would not be receiving or benefiting from government medical programs. The sliding fee, is simply to save you cost. It has nothing to do with you getting medical care payed for by a government program. Think of planned parenthood as a clinic, that gets grants from the government. Kind of like schools, charities, etc. Nothing to do with state insurance. You will NOT be breaking any laws

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't get it - sounds like you have insurance - your first paragraph just says you didn't use it because your insurance rep was not helpful. Don't really understand that.

Call your insurance company and get the name and address of the nearest urgent care clinic in your plan and go to the doctor.

I don't know that a family doctor is going to ask about a papsmear or that an appointment with your family doctor would be a waste because you haven't had a smear. Heck, I had my first one in 20 years just a couple of months ago. I have been seen at urgent care during that 20 year period and NO ONE ever asked me about a papsmear.

What they are referring to when they say "government" is state government and when they say "federal" they are talking about US government.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Absolutely go. Federal and state funding is different. I do respect your thoughtfulness to not break laws or take advantage but in this case it's a null point. Get seen and be healthy.

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answers from Seattle on

Go to Planned Parenthood. If they say they can provide services at a sliding scale, use them. I used PP in and right after college for my health care (pretty much just gyno at that age). They were great. (This was before kids could stay on their parents healthcare until 26.)

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answers from Dallas on

Anyone can go to PP. The assistance you qualify for depends on your circumstances, but you can certainly get care there. Please go!!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If you are telling the truth about your income and they say you qualify then it is okay for you to go. I do think you might call the local hospital and see if they have a low income clinic. We have one in my local area and the office call fee is only $20. Then it's another $20 for a pap smear and if there is blood work that is another $20. It can add up but if you know just what you're appointment is for you can usually know about how much to budget for.



answers from Redding on

I'm fairly certain anyone can go to Planned Parenthood.
The sliding scale has to do with your family income and the number of immediate family members in your home.

As a single mother with a fairly decent job, I qualify for sliding scale at our local medical clinic. I had to show proof of income, etc, but it's certainly not the same as applying for state aid.

I'm not in Arizona, I'm in California, but I don't know that you are disobeying any laws by seeking reproductive health services at a reduced fee if you income qualify according to Planned Parenthood guidelines.

It sounds like you should just make an appointment, have all your paperwork with you, including verification of all forms of income and family size and see what they say. You can't get in trouble for asking questions and telling the truth.

Best wishes.


answers from Washington DC on


You have insurance. Call the number on the back of the card and talk to an advice nurse. Then find out what doctor's accept your insurance and go from there.

Planned Parenthood is a NON-PROFIT organization that receives state and federal funding. In America - we have a State Government (which means just that - STATE) and FEDERAL - which encompasses the whole United States. As it stands now, Planned Parenthood receives about $200M in Federal subsidies, then from states and private donors.

Call your insurance company and find out what doctors in your area take your insurance, call them and get the appointment set up.



answers from Portland on

You are sick. Don't ask for a work up. Describe your symptoms and ask for a diagnosis and treatment. I suggest that you insurance will pay for that because you are sick. You are not a well person asking for check up.

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