Does Health Insurance Cover Liposuction?
Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the country, and approximately 500,000 of these procedures are completed each year. Although this fat-removal surgery was once popular only among celebrities, it’s becoming more common-place for regular Americans to consider this surgery. Although this procedure is a popular choice for many people, its high cost may make it unobtainable for some.If you’re considering liposuction treatment, you may be wondering whether an insurance company will cover the cost of the surgery. Insurance is designed to provide assistance in paying off medical expenses, and it may cover elective surgeries under certain conditions. Before making a decision, however, it’s important to do some research and confirm how your insurance company will handle a claim for liposuction surgery.
Before pursuing any type of medical procedure, it’s a good idea to communicate with your insurance company to see what is covered under your specific policy. Coverages vary tremendously from one policy to the next, and not all insurance companies handle claims in the same way. Nevertheless, there are some general guidelines that will apply to most companies, and understanding these may help you predict how your insurance company will react.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure where an instrument is inserted beneath the skin and fat cells are removed through a vacuum pump. This requires the doctor to make a small incision and insert the tool deeply into the fat layer. The subcutaneous fat is then broken up and removed by suction.
The primary appeal of liposuction is its ability to remove fat from targeted areas of the body. This allows the recipient to have more control over the fat removal process than could be achieved from natural weight loss methods. For example, a woman may be able to have her abdominal fat removed without losing mass in her hips or breasts.
The results of a liposuction surgery are not necessarily permanent, and it is more of a shaping technique than a weight loss method. If the recipient does not maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, fat will most likely return to the area. Some people find that multiple liposuction surgeries are necessary to achieve the desired results.
Will Insurance Pay for Liposuction?
The primary purpose of health insurance is mitigating the costs of necessary medical expenses. In general, health insurance will not pay for elective surgeries. If a procedure is not deemed medically necessary, it will usually be denied by insurance. The main exception to this is preventative care. If you can reasonably prove that an elective procedure will prevent more expensive medical conditions from developing, you may be able to get that procedure covered.
In terms of plastic surgery, the question of whether a procedure is medically necessary is often determined on a case-by-case basis. If completing an elective surgery will help prevent future medical conditions from developing, the insurance company may cover it. On the other hand, the policy may have a written exclusion that covers all kinds of elective surgeries regardless of their value as preventative care.
Liposuction is generally not covered by insurance as it is a cosmetic procedure. Unlike a gastric bypass surgery, which may be deemed medically necessary for some obese people, liposuction is not actually designed to aid in weight loss. It may make the person look more attractive, but it generally will not improve their overall health. For this reason, liposuction surgery will be excluded from most health insurance policies.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this. Liposuction surgery may be covered as part of another covered procedure. For example, a breast reduction surgery may require liposuction; if the breast reduction is covered by insurance, the associated liposuction generally will be as well. Additionally, some types of liposuction may be deemed medically necessary. People with lipomas, or fatty tumors, may have these removed through liposuction. This may be deemed medically necessary by insurance. On the other hand, liposuction for the sole purpose of sculpting the patient’s appearance will generally not be covered.
If you’re considering liposuction surgery, it’s a good idea to talk with your insurance company to see whether coverage will be available under your specific policy. It’s also a good idea to discuss your options with a surgeon. Plastic surgery can be surprisingly affordable, and you may be able to establish a payment play or some other method of receiving the surgery without the assistance of insurance. By understanding your options in advance, you’ll be able to make the right decision for your health and finances.