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I’ve had Weight Loss Surgery, will my insurance cover my Plastic Surgery procedures?

 I see a lot of folks, both men and women, who have had gastric bypass or a lap band and experienced what we call ‘massive weight loss’. Typically this is a weight loss of over 100 pounds. Universally, if you are in this group of patients, you will have loose skin on your neck, upper arms, breasts, flanks, back, tummy and thighs and this picture probably looks pretty familiar . The loose skin can be a problem not only due to rashes and skin care issues, but because a lot of patients tell me they still feel heavy with all of the loose skin still there. Commonly performed treatments are skin reduction of the arms (brachioplasty), breasts (lifts and reductions), tummy tucks, and thigh lifts. In today’s times, these procedures are almost always considered “cosmetic”. This translates into no insurance coverage. Over the last 18 to 24 months, at least in my office, we have seen almost a 100% denial rate when we seek insurance pre-approval. If you are considering one of these procedures, my advice is to go into the process assuming you will have to cover the cost yourself. Now, that being said, the costs usually aren’t as high as most folks assume. I have people tell me all the time that they assumed the costs would be in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. The reality is that it is no where near that much. For instance, an arm procedure is about $5,000 total cost. A tummy, about $6,600 and financing options are available. Why no coverage? Well, loose skin removal is simply not considered “medically necessary” by third party payors. Period.

Lee Corbett, MD

All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville weight loss surgeon Dr. Lee Corbett. Dr. Corbett specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery including  body lifts, liposuction,  and tummy tucks.

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