Vasectomy scrutinized in contraception, scope of practice campaigns
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February 2017 - The Affordable Care Act's controversial contraceptive coverage mandate requires most private health plans to provide cost-free coverage of all FDA-approved methods of contraception used by women. Reproductive health advocates in many states are pressing for new laws that will survive with or without the ACA and, additionally, cover male methods of contraception.
Contraceptive coverage mandated by the ACA was challenged in the courts from the very start. These legal entanglements contributed to inconsistent implementation and enforcement of the law. What's more, by restricting the coverage mandate to women, many insurance companies are relieved of the responsibility to cover vasectomy, a voluntary sterilization procedure chosen annually by more than 500,000 Americans.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, an advocacy group focused on sexual and reproductive health, 28 states guarantee private insurance coverage for most FDA-approved methods of contraception, while four states (California, Illinois, Maryland, and Vermont) require that it be provided to the patient cost-free. In recent years, several states have stepped in to expand these mandates to include contraception methods used by men.