Objective. This study evaluates the degree to which medical school health insurance covers the costs of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for medical students in the United States and in Canada.
Methods. A telephone survey was conducted in November 2007 of every accredited medical school in the United States and in Canada.
Results. Thirty-one percent of schools fully covered the vaccine, 18% partially covered it, and the majority, 51%, provided no coverage. In the United States, the Northeast had the highest level of full coverage (61%). In the adjusted model, regional differences were no longer significant. However, private schools (odds ratio [OR] = 4.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5-15.3)] and those that covered the hepatitis B vaccine (OR = 19.4; 95% CI = 5.5-68.6) remained more likely to cover the HPV vaccine. For medical schools that provided no HPV vaccine coverage, the average out-of-pocket cost for students was $434.
Conclusions. This study shows that most medical students are not being offered health insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine, but that the vaccine was adopted relatively quickly into the armamentarium of medical student health centers.