A loop electrosurgical excision procedure, commonly known as LEEP, is an important treatment method that aims to remove precancerous or cancerous cells from the cervix. LEEP is recommended for patients whose Pap test, colposcopy, or biopsy results show the presence of abnormal cervical tissues.
LEEP is said to cure the problem 90 percent of the time if done properly, immediately, and before the cancer cells totally spread inside the body. The tissue that your health care provider removed from your cervix would also be instrumental to finding out if you suffer from other conditions.
In case you need the treatment, here’s a guide on how much does LEEP procedure cost.
Average LEEP Procedure Cost
The average LEEP procedure cost is about $1,722 according to MD Save. The range could go as low as $400 or as high as more than $2,000. The exact price of the treatment depends on how much the health care provider charges as well as the cost of pathology fees.
Also, the price may get higher if you have no insurance company to back you up.
Insurance companies may lower your expenses depending on the scope of their LEEP coverage. For example, some plans would shoulder visit fees while others only pay for the treatment itself.
Aside from that, the price that would be covered by your insurance also depends on how much deductible and out-of-pocket cost you’ve already used up before the procedure.
Sample Cost of LEEP Procedure without Insurance
Computing your budget would be easier if you know the cost of LEEP procedure without insurance. If you are insured, an idea of the standard prices would serve as your reference in calculating deductibles, copays, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket costs. If you’re uninsured, on the other hand, knowing the self-pay rates would help you prepare enough fund for the treatment.
With that said, let’s take a look at some sample prices.
Atlanta Midtown Gynecology Clinic, for instance, charges about $100-$175 for the office visit and another $500 for the LEEP procedure. This will bring the price of treatment to about $600 to $675. However, the said amount is not yet the total cost as the clinic didn’t include the pathology charge. The exact cost, thus, would depend on the above prices plus the pathology fees.
On the other hand, the Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic charges $1,500 for an in-office LEEP procedure. The cost would be $200 higher, or $1,700 if you opt for an IV sedation during the treatment. Lastly, Kaiser Permanente in Colorado charges $539 for the procedure itself, excluding pathology and visitation fees.
If you’re looking for lower costs, you could use the provider locator of MD Save. For example, entering Virginia on the search engine would yield a result of four providers based in the area who are associated with the website. All the OB-Gynecologists are under Tri-Cities OB/GYN Associates which charges $752 for the LEEP Procedure.
However, note that not all providers featured on the website offer low-cost LEEP procedures. For example, OB-Gynecologists associated with MD Save in Oklahoma may charge as high as $3,216 for the treatment which is way above the average cost.
As there are a lot of clinics and hospitals that offer LEEP, you could make it easier to look for a provider by narrowing down the search based on your location. Afterward, inquire first about the fees charged by each hospital or facility. That way, you could compare prices and choose the one which fits your budget.
Saving with Insurance
The cost of LEEP procedure without insurance could be staggering. However, know that you could always opt to rely on aids provided by the government and private insurance companies.
Discussions on online medical forums show that insurance companies like Aetna and Blue Shield cover the cost of the LEEP procedure minus the copay or co-insurance that the patient has to shoulder.
Also, Medicare may also cover the procedure. Contact your plan to know exactly how much you would pay using the insurance. The cost might also change if you have other plans such as Medigap, Medicaid, or coverage from your spouse or employer.
Note that Medicare would only start paying after you’ve used up all your deductibles. Once the plan begins covering some costs, you would only have to shoulder copayments.
Aside from calling your insurance plan, you should also make sure that the hospital or clinic accepts insured payment from the company you are affiliated with. Otherwise, you would end up paying the bills yourself.
Apart from accepting insurance, some hospitals may also offer discounts reaching up to 30% if you are uninsured or a cash-paying patient. Some facilities may even provide free LEEP for qualifying patients, particularly those who have no insurance plan and has no means to pay for the procedure because of a low income.
What to Expect during LEEP
LEEP is a procedure that uses a fine wire loop which has a low-voltage electrical current. To complete the treatment, you would have to lie on your back the same way as when you had your Pap smear. Your doctor would then use a speculum to gently spread apart the vaginal walls and to check the inside of your vagina and cervix.
You would then receive either local anesthesia or IV sedation to numb the cervix, as the doctor would have to cut or remove the abnormal tissue found inside. The doctor would then send the sample to the pathologist for examination.
The procedure would only take up to 10 minutes. You could go home afterward and would be able to return to your normal activities within 1-3 days.
You would experience mild cramping hours after the procedure, a dark brown discharge during the first week, and vaginal spotting for approximately three weeks. It may sound alarming, but note that all these circumstances are normal. If something different happens, such as severe vaginal bleeding and fever, call your doctor right away.
Also, you would have to avoid sexual intercourse, douching, and tampons for up to three weeks for the treatment to take effect.
To monitor whether the abnormal tissue would regrow or not, you would have to undergo Pap tests after the LEEP, with the frequency depending on the recommendation of your doctor. Be sure not to miss the post-op examinations as it would determine if you’re indeed already cancer-free.