The New California law allowing full coverage for contraceptives and cheaper vasectomies has gone into effect on 1st January.
The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022 requires private health insurance plans to cover contraceptive drugs, devices, and products at in-network pharmacies without a prescription and cost-sharing.
The law also allows men on private insurance plans to receive vasectomies at no additional cost other than what they pay for their monthly premiums.
Vasectomy, one of the few birth control methods available to men, is an irreversible surgical procedure that involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles.
It is a highly effective method, as only about 15 of every 10,000 couples get pregnant in the year after the man has a vasectomy. Moreover, it does not affect sex drive or ability to get an erection or ejaculate.
The law comes when Americans face delays or barriers in receiving birth control and related care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Guttmacher Institute analysis.
Many women are unaware of birth control coverage options required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. A 2022 survey found that one in four (41%) females of reproductive age don’t know that most private insurance plans have to provide full coverage for birth control.
The United States has the lowest vasectomy rates among wealthy nations, with limited insurance coverage among the main barriers to the procedure.
Former Democratic senator Connie M. Leyva, who authored the bill, called the act "a vital step forward to build on existing measures to help ensure our contraceptive benefits and policies extend to millions more across the state since current law leaves too many individuals and communities without equitable access."
- California Legislative Information. SB-523 Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Development. Vasectomy.
- Kaiser Family Foundation. Contraception in the United States: A Closer Look at Experiences, Preferences, and Coverage.
- Health Law. Governor Newsom Signs Contraceptive Equity Bill Into Law.
- Guttmacher Institute. COVID-19 Has Disrupted Access to Birth Control in Several US States, New Study Finds.