Tubal Ligation: Costs and Health Insurance Coverage

Tubal ligation typically costs between $1,500 and $6,000 before insurance.

But you might pay nothing or only a small amount, depending on your health insurance. That's because most health insurance plans are required to cover at least one type of female sterilization surgery for women.

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Birth control surgery: Costs and coverage

How much does tubal ligation cost?

Female sterilization surgeries, including tubal ligation, usually cost up to $6,000.

But that's just the cost for the actual procedure. The total cost will likely be higher. That's because you will be charged for anesthesia, medications and hospital fees.

Your cost also depends on what type of surgery you have. Typically, laparoscopic surgeries, which are minimally invasive, are cheaper than traditional open surgeries.

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What is female sterilization surgery?

Female sterilization surgery, often called "getting your tubes tied," is a form of permanent birth control. It stops eggs from traveling down the fallopian tube, so they can't meet with sperm and become fertilized.

There are two main types of female sterilization surgery.

  • Tubal ligation: This surgery blocks, clamps or removes a small part of the fallopian tube.
  • Bilateral salpingectomy: Also called a "bisalp," this surgery removes both fallopian tubes completely. According to Johns Hopkins, this surgery also lowers the risk of ovarian cancer.

Although it does involve surgery and anesthesia, female sterilization is the most common method of birth control in the United States. It's even more common than birth control pills, IUDs, implants and condoms.


Does insurance cover tubal ligation?

Most health insurance plans cover tubal ligation.

The federal government requires that most health insurance plans cover birth control for women. Most insurance plans cover at least one type of sterilization surgery.

But not all plans give you coverage for a tubal ligation. Short-term health insurance plans, for example, aren't required to cover the same things as other plans. So if you buy short-term health insurance, you might not have coverage for surgery.

Even if your health insurance covers tubal ligation, you may still have to pay part of the cost.

Your insurance company may not agree that some medications used during surgery were medically necessary, for example. Or you might have a copay for your pre- and post-surgery doctor visits.

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Before your surgery, ask your doctor to give you the medical billing codes for your procedure. You can call your insurance company with those codes to make sure you have coverage.

This can help you know how much you might have to pay. But you might not be able to get an exact estimate of how much you owe. There could be complications during your surgery, or you may need more in recovery than expected, for example, which will cost more.

Because health insurance plans are only required to cover one type of sterilization surgery, you may have coverage for only tubal ligation or bilateral salpingectomy. But some plans cover both. If you aren't sure what coverage you have, check your plan documents or talk with your health insurance company.

Tubal ligation coverage from religious organizations

Federal law allows some employers to opt out of covering birth control. Typically, only employers with a religious belief can refuse coverage for birth control, including sterilization surgery.

The best way to know if you have coverage for tubal ligation is to talk to your health insurance company. Coverage depends on where you live and what kind of employer you work for.

For example, in California, New York and Oregon, only churches and church associations can refuse to cover birth control. And in New York, you might still be able to get coverage directly from your insurance company, even if you work for a church that doesn't offer birth control coverage. But in Illinois or Missouri, almost any employer can refuse to cover birth control.

Does Medicaid cover tubal ligation?

Medicaid covers sterilization surgery in most states. Forty states and Washington, D.C. have expanded their Medicaid programs, and female sterilization surgeries are required to be covered.

But in the 10 states that haven't expanded Medicaid, coverage for tubal ligation is up to the state.

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In these states, you may still have coverage, but it depends on the state's laws. You might also have to meet stricter income requirements and other qualifications.

Your age may also impact your ability to get a tubal ligation if you're on Medicaid, no matter where you live. Federal dollars can't be used for sterilization surgery if you're under 21. Medicaid might still pay for your surgery if you're under 21, but it would have to use state funds. If you're on Medicaid and under 21, check with your state Medicaid office to see if you qualify.

Does Medicare cover tubal ligation?

Medicare only covers tubal ligation or bilateral salpingectomy if it's necessary to treat an illness or injury. It doesn't offer any coverage for these surgeries if the goal is permanent birth control.


Vasectomy vs. tubal ligation

Vasectomies are usually cheaper than tubal ligations, but they aren't always covered by insurance.

A vasectomy costs $1,580, on average. Overall, that's much less than the total cost of a tubal ligation, which is between $1,500 and $6,000 plus other surgery costs.

But tubal ligations are typically covered by insurance, and you may pay very little or nothing. Vasectomies are often covered by insurance, but there's no law requiring coverage. Depending on your plan, a vasectomy could be free or you may have to pay full price.


Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to get your tubes tied?

On average, a tubal ligation costs $1,500 to $6,000. The total cost for the surgery will be higher, because anesthesia, medications, time in recovery and hospital fees will all be charged. However, you might pay little or nothing, though, depending on your health insurance plan.

Would insurance cover getting your tubes tied?

Any health insurance plan that follows Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines covers tubal ligation or bilateral salpingectomy, and may cover both. You might still have to pay some of the cost, depending on your plan. Medicaid covers sterilization surgeries for women in most states, but Medicare only covers it if it's necessary to treat an illness or injury.

Can tubal ligation be reversed?

Tubal ligation is meant to be permanent birth control. Some kinds of tubal ligation can be reversed, but only between 50% to 80% of women get pregnant after reversal. If your fallopian tubes are removed completely, called a bilateral salpingectomy, your surgery can't be reversed. And because the initial surgery was meant to be permanent, most health insurance companies don't cover tubal reversal surgery.


Sources

Info about tubal ligation and bilateral salpingectomy costs and insurance coverage is from:

Info about laparoscopic surgery and open surgery costs as well as the popularity of sterilization as a birth control method comes from the National Library of Medicine.

Editorial note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.