Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD. Untreated chlamydia can lead to serious long-term health problems, including permanent infertility. Fortunately, chlamydia is usually easily treated with antibiotics. However, many people are concerned about the potential cost of chlamydia treatment.
How much does it cost to treat chlamydia? Will insurance help you to pay for it?
How much does chlamydia testing cost?
The first part of your chlamydia treatment cost will be getting the correct diagnosis. Many of the symptoms of chlamydia, such as discharge from the vagina or penis and pain when urinating, can also be caused by a variety of other diseases, including gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. In addition, many people who have chlamydia actually don’t have any symptoms at all. It’s very difficult to know whether you have chlamydia or another disease, without getting tested.
One way to get the testing you need is to go to an STD clinic or to your regular doctor. The doctor will examine you and then perform the tests that you need. Your doctor will also prescribe the appropriate treatment. You’ll need to cover the cost of the doctor visit and the testing, in addition to your chlamydia antibiotics.
Another option is to order a home STD test kit. This is mailed to you, and you take a sample at home and send it back to the lab. The lab will test the sample and send you the results online. With most home STD testing services, you can also get a prescription for the treatment that you need. A nurse or physician will call you to ask about your medical history and explain the treatment options. In general, using at-home STD testing to check for chlamydia will be less expensive than going for an in-person doctor visit, although the costs certainly can vary.
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How much does chlamydia medicine cost?
The specific chlamydia medication cost varies a lot, because each pharmacy sets its own retail prices for prescription medications, and these can change from day to day. It’s not possible to say exactly how much chlamydia pills cost.
In general, chlamydia is treated with one of two antibiotics. One option is a single dose of azithromycin, also sold under the brand name Zithromax. In general, the cost of azithromycin without insurance will be less than the cost of Zithromax without insurance, because brand name medications cost more. Keep in mind that azithromycin and Zithromax are the same medication, so if you’re concerned about the chlamydia antibiotics price, you may want to ask about substituting generic azithromycin for Zithromax. (Zithromax also comes in a form called a Zpack, so you may be familiar with the cost of a Zpack without insurance. However, Zpacks consist of five days of medication, and are not used for chlamydia. A Zpack is used for other types of infections.)
Another option is doxycycline. Instead of a single dose, patients take this medication for a week for treating chlamydia. Although this is certainly less convenient, there have been fewer cases of antibiotic resistance observed with this antibiotic, and so it’s increasingly being recommended as the first choice of treatments. In general, the doxycycline cost is lower than the azithromycin cost, although this certainly can vary by pharmacy.
Does insurance cover STD treatment?
In general, health insurance plans do cover testing and treatment for chlamydia and other STDs. However, you may still be responsible for some of the costs. You might have to pay a co-pay, and if you haven’t yet reached your deductible for the year (the amount that the patient has to pay before insurance benefits kick in), then you might even have to pay for all of it. Fortunately, chlamydia treatment is generally not too expensive.
Even if you choose home STD testing, some insurance plans will cover the cost of the test kit, as well as your chlamydia treatment. If you’re hoping to use insurance to pay for your chlamydia test, you should check for this option when you’re selecting which test kit you’d like to use.
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Chlamydial Infection: Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/chlamydia.htm. Accessed 31 Mar 2022.
Kesselheim AS, Avorn J, et al. The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States: Origins and Prospects for Reform. JAMA 2016 Aug 23-30;316(8):858-71. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.11237
Marra F, Marra CA, et al. Cost effectiveness analysis of azithromycin and doxycycline for Chlamydia trachomatis infection in women: A Canadian perspective. Can J Infect Dis. 1997 Jul-Aug; 8(4): 202–208. doi: 10.1155/1997/870203.
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National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) 2022. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (2022). https://data.medicaid.gov/dataset/dfa2ab14-06c2-457a-9e36-5cb6d80f8d93/data. Accessed 31 Mar 2022.
National Overview – Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/2019/overview.htm. Accessed 31 March 2022.
WHO Guidelines for the Treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis. World Health Organization (2016). http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/246165/1/9789241549714-eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed 31 March 2022.