How Much is a Vasectomy? Facts You Should Know First

How much is a vasectomy?  There are different kinds of vasectomies, and not all vasectomies cost the same amount. Prices can vary widely.

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What is the Cost of a Vasectomy?

Getting a vasectomy can cost anywhere between $0 and $3,000 or more, including follow-up visits.

The cost of a vasectomy varies.  It mostly depends on what type of surgery you choose.  But, other factors include where you get it, and whether or not you have health insurance.  Insurance should help you cover some or all of the cost. It is possible to have a vasectomy performed at no cost –  totally free (or low cost).  This can occur with some health insurance plans, Medicaid, and other government programs.

Your vasectomy may initially cost more than other birth control methods. But, it will usually ends up saving you money in the long run.  A vasectomy is intended to be permanent – as in, it lasts forever. Vasectomies are about 6 times cheaper than tubal ligation – the female equivalent of permanent sterilization.

Family planning isn’t something you should take lightly.  Yes, having children can seriously impact your lifestyle and finances. But, the method you choose to not have a family also has a financial impact – and consequences.  Some methods of family planning are more effective — and more expensive — than others. If you’re considering a vasectomy as a birth control method, it can cost over $3,000. That’s not cheap.  But, it is potentially more affordable than other options, particularly in the long run. Below, is what you should to know about the procedure, the cost and how health insurance – and government assistance can play a role.

What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a simple, but permanent sterilization procedure for men.  The vas deferens are severed by small incisions and tied or sealed.  It can be performed right your doctor’s office.  As a result, it tends to cost much less than other surgeries. Over the long term, a vasectomy may be less expensive than other birth-control options – like Birth Control Pills or IUDs.

The procedure itself is straightforward and usually takes under 30 minutes.  Anesthesia is used as well as mild sedatives so that it doesn’t hurt.  It is  highly effective, preventing pregnancy in 99.85% of cases.  There’s about 1 pregnancy per every 1,000 vasectomies. That makes vasectomies about 99.9 percent effective for preventing pregnancy. Although it’s considered a permanent sterilization technique, vasectomy reversals are possible.   Source: healthline.com

Traditional Vasectomy VS. No Needle, No Scalpel  Vasectomy

There are two kinds of vasectomies, each with its own advantage.

A traditional vasectomy is an open-style procedure using a direct incision on the side of the scrotum.  Anesthesia is injected to the surrounding area. The physician may cauterize, cut, or tie off the vas deferens.  This is the duct that conveys sperm from the testicle to the urethra.  Sometimes, the procedure involves blocking the vas deferens with clips, implants, or even a tiny valve.  This variation is performed, and considered to be more reversible if a patient later changes his mond.

There is also a no needle, no scalpel vasectomy.  In this case, the physician uses a high-pressure jet injector to deliver the anesthesia. Special instruments are used to punch a tiny hole in the scrotum rather than make a traditional incision.  This allows access to cut or tie off the vas deferens in the same way as with a traditional vasectomy.

Both types of vasectomies are almost always outpatient. An incision vasectomy takes about 20 to 30 minutes, while the no-incision method takes a little less time. Recovery time is the same between the two.  A day or two to rest is prescribed, with no strenuous work or exercise for about a week. Both procedures are performed under a local anesthetic as opposed to general anesthesia. They can be performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient clinic, or a same-day surgery center.  Source: clearhealthcosts.com

The Pros & Cons of a Vasectomy

Somewhere between 10% – 16% of men ages 36 to 45 have undergone vasectomy surgery. It’s a stable trend, and  it has a number of benefits:

  • Safe – Getting a vasectomy is considered much safer than the female counterpart – tubal ligation.  For a woman,  getting her tubes tied is a more invasive type of surgery and it requires general anesthesia. The risks of complication for a vasectomy are low.  Worst-case scenarios are usually discomfort caused by swelling, and bruising or inflammation.
  • Cost Effective – Vasectomies are usually much less expensive than tubal ligation.  Over time, they can be cheaper than recurring forms of birth control like birth control pills or IUDs.  Yes, the upfront cost is higher, but it is a one-time procedure.  As a result, it can save you money in the long run.
  • Readily Available – Where do you go to get a vasectomy? Almost anywhere! The procedure is easy, and performed on an outpatient basis.  So most doctors offices, clinics, or same-day-surgery centers can perform them.

Drawbacks of Vasectomy Procedures

  • Upfront Cost – The high price upfront requires more planning and budgeting than other forms of birth control.
  • Surgical Risks – The risks may be relatively small, but any procedure under the skin carries risks.  There is a chance for infection and complications that are not present with oral and other contraceptives.
  • Difficult to Reverse – If you decide down the line you want (more) children, a reversal surgery is another expense.
  • Does not Prevent STDs – While a vasectomy prevents pregnancies, it doesn’t protect against STDs.

You should explore and be completely aware of the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.

Weighing the Cost of a Vasectomy 

The cost of a vasectomy alone should not be your deciding factor.  You should also conside the ramifications and costs of NOT having a vasectomy. If you are certain you don’t want your own children and you wish to prevent pregnancy, a vasectomy is extremely effective.  The cost of having another child— accidentally or planned—is substantial!  An unplanned pregnancy, however, is not the only issue to be weighed. The lifetime accumulated costs of other forms of birth control can be pricey as well. Costs must be weighed not only from a financial standpoint, but also regard to your health and wellness – and that of your partner. For instance, the birth control pill is relatively inexpensive, when you purchase a month’s supply.  But when all of those months are added up until menopause, the cost could well exceed that of a vasectomy. And that’s just the monetary costs.

While using the pill, Some women experience uncomfortable side effects such as weight gain or mood swings, and in those who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, the pill can mildly increase the risk. In a monogamous relationship an  IUD can be very effective, but also has potential complications such as infection or perforation.  From the male contraceptive standpoint, a lifetime supply of condoms may actually cost more than a vasectomy. It depends on your taste and how often you need and use them. From a non monetary standpoint, a vasectomy is much more convenient.  However, a vasectomy doesn’t reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases as a condom may.  There are many other questions to consider when choosing a form of birth control.  But, the point is that the cost—at least the financial cost—may be minor in comparison with other reasons for your choice.  Source:  verywellhealth.com/

Other Birth Control Options

There are many birth control options out there. Here’s a comparison of a few popular forms of birth control to help you decide if a vasectomy is the right choice for you.

  • Condoms – Condoms are a convenient, temporary solution. However, they have a high failure rate (ranging from 2-18%). They can break even when used properly and cause irritation.  But, they do protect against STDs and STIs.
  • Birth Control Pills – The birth control pill prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs. Birth control pills have a failure rate of 9%. They can also cause many unwanted side effects in women including weight gain, headaches and decreased libido. They do not protect against STIs.
  • IUD – The intrauterine device (IUD) is a very effective form of birth control. The failure rate of an IUD is less than 1%. However, similarly to the pill, they can cause unwanted side effects for women including headaches and heavy bleeding.
  • Tubal Ligation –Tubal ligation is a permanent form of birth control for women, but the surgery is much more invasive than a vasectomy.  Source:  alarconurology.com

Does Health Insurance Cover the Cost of a Vasectomy?

Many health insurance providers cover full or partial vasectomy costs. However, it’s not guaranteed and depends on your company.  Vasectomies aren’t one of the ten essential health benefits that every health insurance plan has to offer.  On the other hand, FDA-approved female contraceptive methods, like the pill are covered. So, before signing up for a vasectomy, you’ll need to do a little research into whether your health insurance covers the procedure.  And, if insurance doesn’t cover the whole cost,  how much of the bill it will pay?

Don’t forget to consider your out-of-pocket costs. Even if your insurance does cover a vasectomy, you’re still responsible for your deductible, co-pay and/or co-insurance. If your insurance offers a flexible spending account or a health spending account, a vasectomy is an eligible expense. This allows you to use pre-tax money toward the procedure and save on your tax bill. Also, be sure to shop around to check prices between different Doctors and clinics.

Remember, many health insurance policies DO cover at least SOME of the the cost of a vasectomy.  So, contact your insurance company first to discuss your coverage. In many cases, your insurance will pay the majority of the associated vasectomy costs. Your exact out-of-pocket cost will depend on your level of coverage.

  • Co-payment – a flat fee paid at each doctor’s visit (such as $25)
  • Deductible – a fixed amount that you have to pay before your health insurance policy covers the costs of a visit or procedure
  • Coinsurance – the percentage of the doctor’s fees that you are required to pay (such as 20 percent).

Also, vasectomies are often a qualified health savings account (HSA) expense. If your insurance plan won’t pay for the procedure and you contribute to an HSA, you may be able to get reimbursed that way.  Source: vasectomy.com

Ways to Reduce the Cost of a Vasectomy

Unlike many forms of female birth control, vasectomies are not mandated to be provided free of charge under the Affordable Care Act. Each health plan will have its own coverage and deductible for the procedure. Most health insurance companies will cover vasectomy costs if performed as an outpatient procedure, but you should check with your insurance provider to make sure that they include vasectomy benefits.

  • Consider your Deductible – Usually, health insurance companies will cover most or all of a vasectomy cost after the yearly deductible has been met.  Consider scheduling a vasectomy later in the year once you have met your yearly deductible threshold.
  • Medicaid – If you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs in your area may also cover the cost of a vasectomy.
  • State Assistance – Many states offer this to men who lack funds to pay for the procedure. Ask your doctor whether there are programs that may apply to you.
  • Shop Around – If you do not have a health insurance plan, some doctors or clinics may offer a sliding scale fee that is determined based on your income.
  • Cash Discounts – You can also check with your doctor to determine if she may offer you a discount on your vasectomy cost if you pay in cash and/or if a payment plan can be established. Make sure you also inquire about which payment options your doctor accepts.  If you create a specific savings category in your household budget, it should not take long to put aside the total amount needed. A full cash-payment in advance should earn a discount from a clinic.

While researching various urologists and their vasectomy costs, be absolutely certain you understand what each facility provides.  You may find that not only do the costs vary widely, but the actual procedures may have subtle variations as well.

So, How Much Does a Vasectomy Cost on Average?

How much will a vasectomy run you? The average vasectomy cost was researched in each state’s major metropolitan area.  Cost was defined as an “estimate of the pre-negotiated amount that a Doctor or clinic might bill your insurance for care.”

  • Cost Range by State – Costs ranged from just over $1,500 to nearly $3,400 with a national average of around $2,394.
  • Most Expensive States (over $3,000) – Alaska, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia.
  • Least Expensive States (under $2,000) – Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wyoming.

How much is a Vasectomy Without Insurance?

In theory, it should cost the same amount whether or not you have insurance.  But, that is not always the case.  Insurance companies negotiate a best price.  That negotiated price might not be honored if someone just walks in off the street – with no insurance.   This is why it is so important to shop around, especially if you don’t have insurance coverage.  If the price quoted is out of line with the average for your state, you should shop around for a fairer, selfpay price.

Some physicians bundle the cost of a vasectomy into one overall price, while others list them separately. Price bundles can include initial consultation, anesthesia, follow-up appointment, and semen analysis. If you’re not insured, and paying out of pocket, get precise estimates on each of those items.  At the very least, get a list of everything that the bundled price includes.

How Does the Cost of a Vasectomy Compare to that of Tubal Ligation?

The sterilization procedure for men is significantly less expensive than female sterilization.  The procedure is known as tubal ligation – or getting your tubes tied. Tubal ligation can be four to six times more costly than a vasectomy,  It is a longer, more invasive, and more complex procedure.  Also, tubal ligation requires general anesthesia and must be performed in a hospital or surgery center.

What is the Cost of a Vasectomy Reversal?

A vasectomy reversal is a surgical procedure to undo a vasectomy. It reconnects each vas deferens tube that was cut or blocked during an earlier vasectomy procedure.  Re-attaching the tube allows sperm to again travel from a testicle and be introduced into the semen. After a successful vasectomy reversal, sperm are again present, and you may be able to get your partner pregnant.

Pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal range from about 30 percent to over 90 percent.  Many factors affect whether a reversal is successful in achieving pregnancy.  Success factors include:

  • Time since the vasectomy
  • Partner age
  • Your age
  • Surgeon experience and training
  • Fertility issues before the vasectomy

Like you may have discovered with your vasectomy, costs can vary widely.  A vasectomy reversal may cost between $3,000 and $15,000 depending on who performs it and where.  Most health insurance companies will not cover this procedure. Not only does a vasectomy reversal cost a lot of money, the success rate for restoring fertility and achieving pregnancy also varies greatly.  In general, the more time that passes between vasectomy and a vasectomy reversal procedure, the greater the likelihood that it will be ineffective.

Is There a way to Have a Vasectomy done for Free?

There may be programs in your area that provide low-cost or no-cost vasectomies. A good starting point is your local health department.  If they don’t offer it, they may be able to recommend a clinic nearby.

“Vasectomy is a much more straightforward, minor procedure when compared to a tubal ligation. Medical insurance, including most private plans as well as state-run programs like Medicare and Medicaid, will cover a vasectomy because it is more cost-effective than the cost of most birth controls and other sterilization procedures, and is clearly less expensive than the prenatal, delivery and postnatal cost associated with having a baby,”  Source: Chesapeake Urology in Maryland

Obamacare

Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), most insurance plans must cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to you. This policy does NOT include vasectomies.  However, many insurance plans cover some or all of the cost of vasectomies anyway. If you don’t have health insurance, you’ve still got options. Depending on your income and legal status in the U.S., you may be able to sign up for Medicaid or other state programs.  These programs can help you pay for birth control and other health care.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood may be another option.  They work to provide you with the services you need, whether or not you have insurance. Most Planned Parenthood health centers accept Medicaid and health insurance.  Many Centers charge less for services depending on your income. Other clinics and doctors that provide vasectomies may also use a sliding scale based on your income. If you’re worried about cost, check with your local Planned Parenthood health center.   They are an often overlooked resource and they may be able to help.  While they may or may not be able to arrange for a free vasectomy, they can at least set you up with a vasectomy within your budget.  Source: plannedparenthood.org

Bottom Line

A “typical” vasectomy costs between $300 and $3,000.  The costs vary widely depending on if you have insurance, who performs the procedure, and where the procedure is done.  However, there are many non-monetary costs that must be considered when making this important decision. The cost of a vasectomy also need to be weighed against the long-term costs of other birth control methods, both temporary and permanent.  Many factors come into play in choosing the best form of birth control.  These include the wishes of both partners, health risks related to the method, and even the chance that you may later regret whatever decision you have made.  It’s important to have a deep and thorough discussion with your partner.  This should be followed by a frank discussion with your doctor and/or healthcare provider.  Be sure you completely understand ALL your options and any potential consequences – well in advance.

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