News | Published August 28, 2012

Circumcision and rising healthcare costs

Some insurance companies are denying coverage for circumcision of male newborns, deeming it a cosmetic issue. A recent article titled Drop in Circumcision of Male Newborns Could Add Billions to Health Care Costs, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine stated that continued decline in "U.S. infant male circumcision could add more than $4.4 billion in avoidable health care costs if rates over the next decade drop to levels now seen in Europe." This information is based on research by disease experts and health economists at Johns Hopkins.

"Our economic evidence is backing up what our medical evidence has already shown to be perfectly clear," says Aaron Tobian, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "There are health benefits to infant male circumcision in guarding against illness and disease, and declining male circumcision rates come at a severe price, not just in human suffering, but in billions of health care dollars as well."

The Johns Hopkins team's analysis showed that, on average, each male passed over and not performed leads to $313 more in illness-related expenses, costs which Tobian says would not have been incurred if these men had not undergone the procedure.

The report goes on to say that "the added expense stems from new cases and higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and related cancers among uncircumcised men and their female partners.

Circumcision has been something that has been a personal choice for parents over the last 20 years in the United States. This issue will continue to be controversial and under debate - especially as our country seeks to control healthcare costs.