Healthcare and the Cost of Cosmetic Surgeries

In 2012 14.6 million Americans had some type of surgical cosmetic procedure done. Currently there is a debate going on over the question of whether your health care insurance should cover the costs of cosmetic surgeries. At the moment most insurance companies do not cover this type of cost.

Let’s take a look at the number of cosmetic surgeries that have been undertaken in the last couple of years.

There were 286,000 breast augmentations preformed, while this number is high, it is actually down about 7 percent.  Liposuction and nose reshaping are other popular procedures along with eyelid surgeries and facelifts.

So how do insurance companies determine if they will cover the cost of your cosmetic surgery? Each insurance company determines this slightly differently but they do adhere to certain guidelines.

These guidelines includes determining whether or not the cosmetic procedure is reconstructive or purely cosmetic?  The majority of insurance companies follow the American Medical Association and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Their policy states the following:

Reconstructive surgery refers to surgery that is performed on abnormal structures which have been caused by; congenital defects, abnormalities in development, trauma, infection, tumors or disease.

Cosmetic surgery refers to the reshaping of normal structures to purely improve self-esteem and appearance of the person.

What this means is that some people may find that they are covered for certain cosmetic procedures. Say for example that you have really large breasts, which are causing you major back or neck pain – this could now be covered.

If you require eyelid surgery because your droopy eyelids are impairing your vision, you may find this cost covered.

Currently all of this is still left up to the discretion of each individual health insurance company. A good example of a cost that was once covered and now isn’t is the circumcision of infant boys. Most companies consider this to be a cosmetic procedure and do not cover it anymore.

If you are planning on getting coverage for a particular procedure you may want to check out several insurance companies first. Your choice of which provider to go with could depend upon what conditions you have and what they are most likely to cover.

Health insurance companies have something called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage. Ask for this document as it will list all the details on what you can expect to be covered for. Plus it states what is not covered. This is a really usually tool to use when comparing the different health insurance benefits that are available to you.

While there is talk about whether changes to cosmetic surgery should be made, there has been no definite plans in this area. Instead it is something which you want to keep your eye on. Especially if there is a cosmetic procedure you are thinking about having performed.


One thought on “Healthcare and the Cost of Cosmetic Surgeries

  1. What do you think: Should the government pay for cosmetic surgeries? On what hand I would say yes, but on the other hand I know it is ultimately not the government that pays for it but the tax payer!

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