(Updated 2022) The cost of birth-control pills and devices has been in the news a lot lately. But we haven’t seen a lot about the cost of vasectomies and related special promotion prices for vasectomies. In our continuing effort to bring transparency to the health-care marketplace, we did a little reporting on the price of a vasectomy, spurred by the news that doctors have been selling vasectomies using the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament as a hook, according to a story in USA Today by Kim Painter.
“The idea: Men time the surgery so that they can combine recovery with a little quality TV sports time. Or, as one Virginia clinic puts it in promotional materials: “Spend three days on the couch watching hoops with your wife’s approval,” Painter writes. News outlets across the country have been reporting similar promotions since at least 2008, when a clinic in Oregon first publicized its “Snip City” March Madness event. This year, that clinic is providing patients who come in during the tournament with a special recovery kit that includes a a T-shirt, 3D glasses, a copy of Sports Illustrated and a cooler. A clinic in Cape Cod, Mass., is throwing in a pizza — or “or pie for the sterile guy,” as The Cape Cod Times says.
What’s the normal cost of a vasectomy — not the ‘special’ rate?
As little as $400 or so, or as much as $5,000 and change. Here’s a list of all the prices for a vasectomy removing the sperm ducts from our price surveys in the New York City area, California and Texas. Here’s a list of prices for a vasectomy not removing but instead cutting the sperm ducts.
Here’s our blog post about the kinds of vasectomies and prices, and a second post about whether a vasectomy is covered by the Affordable Care Act (the short answer: no, only women’s contraception is covered).
Planned Parenthood’s vasectomy page says: “Nationwide, the cost of a vasectomy ranges from $350–$1,000, including the follow-up sperm count. (Sterilization for women costs up to six times as much.) Some clinics and doctors use a sliding scale according to income.” (Our reporting shows that prices can be much, much higher than $1,000.)
The Urology Team, a Texas practice, has joined the party by offering a vasectomy connected to the NCAA basketball tournament or the Masters golf tournament, with the promotional lines for “Vas Madness” and “the Vasters.” They offer a patient voucher, with a special price of $595.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.