Sexually transmitted disease, or STDs, pose a major health risk to sexually active adults and teenagers. These diseases are usually passed through the exchange of bodily fluids from one person to another, but some can be spread by mucosal contact. Some STDs, like HIV, are deadly; others can result in long-term effects, like those experienced by herpes sufferers, and many STDs cause infertility. Because of their severity and long-lasting effects, STDs are something that all sexually active people should be mindful of.

There are several methods for protecting yourself against STDs. The most obvious and effective is abstinence. Condoms also provide a barrier against disease. Partner fidelity also helps to reduce the transmission of disease: Individuals with one partner have a much lower risk of contracting an STD than those with multiple partners.

Nevertheless, even the safest individual may sometimes be at risk for contracting an STD. This could occur due to a partner’s infidelity. Non-consensual sex can also transmit STDs. In some cases, a partner may even carry a disease without realizing it, leading to infections long after a monogamous relationship has begun.

Regular STD testing is important, especially in people with multiple sexual partners. Not only will it ensure that you have a clean bill of health, it also serves as proof to your partner that you are safe. If you’re in the position of needing an STD test, you may be wondering whether your health insurance will pay for it. This is an important question and one that bears investigating before you receive any tests.

What STD Tests Entail

Different STDs require different types of tests, and the best STD tests are inclusive. Therefore, you should be prepared to offer both blood and urine samples. Mucus samples from the genital region may also be necessary for certain types of tests. The most common STDs tested for include gonorrhea, syphillis, chlamydia, genital herpes, human pappilomavirus and HIV.

Some STDs have long incubation periods, which means that multiple tests may be required to ensure a clean bill of health. For example, HIV requires a three-month window; if you have unprotected sex within three to six months of being tested, you will need a second test to confirm the results. Some tests can also yield false results, so duplicate tests may sometimes be necessary to confirm the results.

Will Health Insurance Cover an STD Test?

If you are not experiencing any symptoms related to an STD, testing is usually considered to be preventative care expense. Different insurance companies handle preventative care differently. For example, some companies will pay for a single physical examination and related preventative care once per year; additional procedures would be paid out of pocket. Other companies will offer coverage for recurring visits for preventative care as long as that care is believed to be medically necessary or helpful.

Of course, if you are experiencing any symptoms of an STD, the testing would be covered as a diagnostic procedure under your health insurance. If treatment of the STD is covered by the insurance policy, the diagnosis would be covered as well unless there is a specific exclusion to the contrary.

Ultimately, the only way to know whether your insurance company will pay for STD testing is to ask the company. This will help you confirm what tests are paid under your coverage and whether any exclusions may apply. It will also help you find a doctor within your network who can complete the test for you.

Unfortunately, a positive STD diagnosis can result in severe problems for your health insurance, even if the STD test is not covered. If you have private insurance, your rates may increase or you may lose coverage for STD-related treatment. The STD would also be considered a preexisting condition, which would cause problems if you need a new policy down the line.

This is not always the case, of course, and this usually does not apply toward group health plans. Nevertheless, this is a valid reason to practice safe sex and get tested frequently; it’s better to catch the disease early than begin experiencing severe symptoms that may or may not be covered by insurance.

What To Do If Health Insurance Will Not Cover STD Testing?

If you find that your insurance company will not cover your STD testing, there are still some options available to you. Many free clinics offer free or low-cost STD testing. You can check with a Planned Parenthood, women’s health clinic, or similar public health clinics funded by the city or state to see what options are available. Additionally, college students are usually able to receive free testing through the university.

If you cannot get free STD testing, it’s still possible to get screenings at low cost. Some private STD testing facilities charge as little as $50 per test to screen for various STDs. Many people find this expense to be well worth the peace of mind of knowing that they are not infected.