|What does OHIP cover?
one normal Papanicolaou (or Pap) smear per year. When the results are not normal,
follow-up Pap smears at more frequent intervals are also covered by OHIP. In addition, Pap
smears that are included in the consultation or assessment fee will continue to be
What is not covered?
Beginning on July 1, 1998, OHIP will no longer pay
for repeated screening Pap smears within one year for healthy patients at low risk for
cervical cancer. Only the first one will be reimbursed. Physicians sometimes include a Pap
smear as part of a different billing, i.e., consultation or assessment, and that is not
Pap smears are a screening
test for cervical cancer. Like many other forms of cancer, annual screening is recommended
for certain age groups because early detection and treatment are important.
Screening more frequently than once annually has not been shown to
improve the rate of early detection, except for patients with a preceding abnormal smear
or other risk factor. Repeated in-year normal pap smears are therefore not medically
While only a small percentage of women are receiving pap tests more
often than necessary, in fact a large number of women do not receive adequate testing
according to guidelines. Check with your doctor and make sure you are receiving this
life-saving test at regular intervals.