Cost and Insurance Coverage for the HPV Vaccine Gardasil

Gardasil 9 is a vaccine that helps protect against nine types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) out there. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own. When HPV doesn't go away, it can lead to genital warts and certain cancers.

The list price for Gardasil 9 is a little over $250 for two- and three-dose schedules. The good news is that most insurance plans cover Gardasil 9 for both children and adults. Children without insurance can get the vaccine free through the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program.

This article reviews who should have the vaccine, the cost, and programs to help those who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

While other HPV vaccines are available worldwide, Gardasil 9 is the immunization of choice in the United States (U.S).

Vaccination healthcare concept. Hands of doctor or nurse in medical gloves injecting a shot of vaccine to a man patient
Pornpak Khunatorn / Getty Images

Who Should Be Immunized

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends routine HPV vaccination for all children at age 11 or 12 years. However, the vaccine is safe for everyone aged 9 to 45 years.

 Age Doses Schedule
9–14 years 2 doses Dose 2: 6 to 12 months after dose 1
15–45 years
3 doses Dose 2: 1 to 2 months after dose 1
Dose 3: 6 months after dose 1

Research shows that HPV is often acquired soon after the first sexual encounter.

Ideally, you should get the vaccine before any exposure to HPV through sexual contact. However, people who have already been infected with one or more types of HPV can still be protected from other HPV types.

How Much Does the HPV Vaccine Cost?

The list price for Gardasil 9 is a little over $250 for a two or three-dose schedule. However, most health insurance providers cover Gardasil 9.

Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine, recommends contacting your insurer and asking the following questions before getting the immunization:

  • Is the vaccine covered?
  • Are there any restrictions?
  • How much will you have to pay out of pocket (if anything)?
  • Are there deductibles that apply?
  • Is there an annual coverage maximum that will apply?

Merck also has a patient assistance program and offers the vaccine at no cost for adults of ages 19 to 26 who do not have health insurance and cannot afford to pay for the vaccine.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Gardasil 9 vaccine should be provided without cost for everyone in the recommended age groups by all covered private insurance plans and the insurance obtained through the health exchanges as of 2017.

Gardasil 9 is also covered under the VCF program. This federal program makes the vaccine free for children through age 18 who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured
  • Medicaid-eligible
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Those over age 18 may be covered by Medicaid, varying by state. In states where the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is separate from Medicaid, the vaccine is covered. You may need to go to a public health clinic to get the vaccine if your healthcare provider is not enrolled as a VFC provider.


HPV is a sexually transmitted virus with multiple types or strains. Often, HPV goes away on it's own within a couple of years without ever causing symptoms. These strains can be treated, but not cured.

There is a vaccine (immunization) called Gardasil 9 that can help prevent HPV. The list price for Gardasil 9 is a little over $250 for a two or three-dose schedule. However, most health insurance providers cover Gardasil 9, but that varies from company to company.

There are also federally funded programs and a patient assistance program that can help those who would not otherwise be able to afford the vaccine.

A Word From Verywell

An estimated 80% of sexually active people get HPV at some point in their lives. It may seem odd to some to vaccinate a child before they are sexually active. However, it is best to do so before sexual activity begins as the vaccine can not prevent strains that someone already has.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is eligible for a free HPV vaccine?

    The HPV vaccine is free for most insured people under the age of 26. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides free vaccines to children who are without insurance, underinsured, American Indian, Alaska Native, or otherwise unable to afford the immunization. Those over 18 may be eligible through Medicaid. Merck also offers the vaccine at no cost to adults ages 19 to 26 who do not have health insurance and cannot afford to pay for it.

  • Is there an age limit to get a free HPV vaccine?

    The HPV vaccine is free to most people with insurance until age 26. The Merck patient assistance program will also help those ages 19 to 26 who do not have health insurance and cannot afford to pay for the vaccine.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC vaccine price list.

  2. Gardasil 9 Human Papillomavirus 9-Valent Vaccine, Recombinant. Information about Gardasil 9.

  3. Meites E, Szilagyi PG, Chesson HW, Unger ER, Romero JR, Markowitz LE. Human papillomavirus vaccination for adults: updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(32):698-702. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6832a3

  4. Castellsagué X, Paavonen J, Jaisamrarn U, et al. Risk of first cervical HPV infection and pre-cancerous lesions after onset of sexual activity: analysis of women in the control arm of the randomized, controlled PATRICIA trial. BMC Infect Dis. 2014;14:551. doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0551-y

  5. Kaiser Family Foundation. The HPV vaccine: Access and use in the U.S.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. VFC eligibility criteria.

  7. National Foundation for Infection Diseases. HPV (human papillomavirus).

Additional Reading

By Brandi Jones, MSN-ED RN-BC
Brandi is a nurse and the owner of Brandi Jones LLC. She specializes in health and wellness writing including blogs, articles, and education.

Originally written by Lisa Fayed