A vasectomy is a type of sterilization solely for men and the most popular form of contraception for couples in the US. A vasectomy is most common in men ages 35 to 44. It is a safe surgical procedure with less risk of complications than tubal ligation in women.
The birth control method can be expensive, but it is a one-time cost and is considered to be one of the most efficient sterilization options available today. In comparison to months of birth control pill subscriptions, condoms, spermicides, and other prescription contraceptives, a vasectomy is a cost-effective option. But will insurance cover a vasectomy? Read on to find out.
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How much does a vasectomy cost?
On average, a vasectomy costs anywhere from $350 to $4,000. The wide range in cost is based on location, the type of surgical method used, and other variables such as whether you pay cash, are eligible for an income-based sliding scale, or the procedure is covered in whole or part by your health insurance plan.
Other factors that determine the out-of-pocket cost involved with a vasectomy include whether a physician bundles services participating in the procedure or bills everything separately.
If the doctor doesn’t bundle all services together, you may also be responsible for the initial consultation, anesthesia, follow-up appointments, and labs such as semen analysis. Luckily, most health insurance policies cover charges associated with a vasectomy.
Read more: How Much Does a Vasectomy Cost?
Many Planned Parenthood clinics perform vasectomy procedures to protect individuals from unintended pregnancy, and choosing to visit one of these clinics may be cheaper than going through with an office visit with your normal health care provider.
Regardless of where you get your vasectomy, it is virtually guaranteed to be cheaper than female sterilization, in addition to being less invasive.
Does insurance pay for a vasectomy under the Affordable Care Act?
So is a vasectomy covered by health insurance?
In August 2016, a new requirement was added to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under this new provision, private health insurance must cover at least one of the 18 FDA-Approved contraceptive methods without any cost-sharing to individual subscribers. Now, all the methods approved by the FDA are for women including tubal ligations and implants. However, it is the goal of many lawmakers to include sterilization options for men.
As of June 2017, the new ACA rules do not include any cost-sharing policies for vasectomies. However, Vermont and Maryland have already passed laws that require insurance companies to offer vasectomy coverage to male patients at no additional cost to themselves.
Vermont’s law went into effect in October 2016, and Maryland’s was set in place in January 2018. Several other states are expected to enact similar laws before the Federal government puts something in place.
How do you determine if a vasectomy is covered by health insurance?
Although most health insurance companies will cover a vasectomy – not all policies pay for the procedure the same way. For this reason, it is the insured’s responsibility to contact their company to discuss benefits. Under most situations, most of the charges associated with a vasectomy will be covered by your insurance company. However, you may be responsible for:
A copay is a flat fee due at each doctor’s visit. If your insurance makes a distinction between primary care and specialists’ co-pays, you will likely be responsible for the experts’ co-pay.
The deductible is a fixed amount that is the insured’s responsibility before the policy begins to pay benefits.
Lastly, coinsurance is a percentage of doctor’s costs that a patient is responsible for. For example, your policy may require you to pay 20-percent of all approved charges.
What do you need to know about a vasectomy?
Adding to the affordability of a vasectomy is the fact that it is a safe, outpatient procedure. What this means is a man can expect to come to the office, have the procedure done, and go home within an hour or two.
Some people opt to undergo anesthesia during a vasectomy to decrease discomfort. Even with the use of anesthesia, men can expect to return home to recover in a matter of hours.
Unless serious complications arise, there is no hospital stay associated with a vasectomy. However, women who undergo tubal ligations often have long recovery times, hospital stays, and large hospital bills. Although unlikely, if complications do arise, and a hospital stay is required, the charges associated with a vasectomy will be higher than normal.
Read more: How Much Does a Vasectomy Cost?
Ask your doctor about the specifics of your individual procedure, as there are multiple different methods for performing a vasectomy. The no-scalpel vasectomy, which uses a clamp, is a low-cost and effective alternative to the traditional vasectomy.
Does health insurance cover vasectomy reversals and other charges?
As we’ve stated before, a vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control. However, there is a vasectomy reversal procedure available. During this procedure, a physician will attempt to repair tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm. The process is not guaranteed to be effective (the success rate for conception after a vasectomy reversal is only about 52%) and is not usually covered by health insurance.
Do you need a health care savings account?
If you contribute to a healthcare savings account (HSA), you can use it to pay for any out-of-pocket costs. A vasectomy is a qualified expense under this program, which means you can use monies saved in this account to pay for any expenses not covered. If you opt for anesthesia, which is not a covered service in most situations, you can also use the HSA to pay for these additional charges.
Bottom Line: Are vasectomies covered by insurance?
Most health insurance plans cover a vasectomy as part of routine preventive services. You should check with your plan provider about what they consider “routine” procedures. Some providers only offer coverage for certain types of surgeries while others provide coverage for almost everything.
Your vasectomy cost may vary depending on whether you choose to receive general anesthesia versus local anesthesia, as well as other details specific to your situation.
Don’t forget to compare quotes from multiple health insurance providers before scheduling a vasectomy. You may be surprised to find that another company can offer you much better coverage for minimal to no increase in cost.
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