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Illinois among states pushing for cost-free vasectomies

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Call it contraception equality.

Vasectomies, which are not covered under President Barack Obama’s health care law, are increasingly being included in state measures that would require insurers to provide cost-free coverage of birth control.

Backers of laws and proposals in such states as Illinois, Vermont, Maryland and most recently New York say that if women can get tubal ligation with no out-of-pocket costs, men should be able to get their surgical sterilization covered cost-free as well.

Such state measures are seen as a key backup if the federal mandate is repealed.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly a quarter of women using birth control would prefer male-only methods of condoms and vasectomies. Neither method had been included among the cost-free options in the Affordable Care Act.

Over the past two years, California, Illinois, Vermont and Maryland have passed laws requiring private insurance companies to cover contraception without out-of-pocket costs, and all but California include vasectomies.