Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Oklahoma woman says Blue Cross Blue Shield won’t cover her yearly pap smears

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OKLAHOMA - The annual pap smear for women is becoming an insurance hassle for some.

The recommendation from the American Cancer Society changed in 2012.

With the change came confusion in coverage.

One metro woman claimed she was denied coverage for her annual exam.

Christi Ferrill said she doesn't think her insurance should deny her yearly pap smear, especially if she's paid for it.

Ferrill has reportedly had pre-cancer cells before.

"I paid $997 to Blue Cross Blue Shield, knowing that my yearly women's exam was Octber 5th," Ferrill said. "Then, I walk in, and I'm told I can't have a pap smear."

Ferrill said Monday there were signs everywhere warning about a change in pap smear policy.

"That's crazy, I was dumbfounded," Ferrill said. "Then, I had to sign a piece of paper that I understood that fact."

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest women from 21-65 years old don't need a yearly pap smear, just every three years.

"The number one tool in prevention, and they just took it away from me," Ferrill said. "It's just very upsetting."

She said she's had abnormal results before and relies on having peace of mind.

"Who, in their right mind, wants to take away prevention?" Ferrill said. "Blue Cross Blue Shield should've notified me, absolutely. Why wasn't I notified, in clear highlighted yellow? Send me a letter. I no longer get one."

Ferrill goes to an Integris doctor.

Integris spokespeople said each insurance company will have different types of coverage.

We checked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, and they said they absolutely still cover yearly pap smears.

At NewsChannel 4, we also use Blue Cross Blue Shield.

They're out of Illinois, and they said they still cover yearly pap smears as well.

When Ferrill tried calling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, she got a different answer.

"I asked him if there is a plan that covers a pap smear, a yearly pap smear. He said yes, he believe so, but you have to pay for it," Ferrill said. "He said, 'Well, I think you have to pay extra, if you want the yearly pap smear.' I said, 'Okay, so there's not really, then?' And, then, he didn't want to talk to me anymore."

Ferrill said, when she signed up for her plan last year, a yearly pap smear was on it, and she's already paid for it.

We tried talking with different doctors in the area about the issue.

At least two doctors told us the topic was controversial and did not feel comfortable going on camera to talk with us.

Thursday Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma responded to our request for a statement.

Under Oklahoma state law, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma provides coverage for a pap smear on an annual basis. We encourage members to call the phone number on their member ID card if they have questions about their health plan benefits.

 

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