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The Financial Guide to Excess Skin Removal Surgery

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Page Updated on May 31, 2022 by Dr. Norman Rowe (Plastic Surgeon) of Rowe Plastic Surgery

Can I Afford Excess Skin Removal Surgery?

Insurance coverage for excess skin removal surgery <Link to Skin Removal Surgery (Panniculectomy)/Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)> varies, but most insurance carriers don’t cover this surgery unless it’s medically necessary. Sometimes, even if you feel you need this surgery, <Link to Everything You Need to Know about Panniculectomy Surgery> it can be difficult to persuade your insurance company to pay for it. And in most cases, you need pre-approval from your carrier before you decide to go ahead with it, if you want them to cover the costs.

But there are other ways to cover your costs besides insurance. The key is to figure out which payment method is right for you. During your consultation with a board certified cosmetic surgeon like those at Rowe Plastic Surgery in New Jersey, Manhattan, Long Island and the Hamptons, ask about financing options.

When Is Surgery Considered Medically Necessary?

If a surgery is a purely cosmetic procedure, you have zero chances of getting it covered by your health insurance. But if you can prove that your surgery is medically necessary and improves your quality of life, you may be able to get it covered. Still, the determination of coverage varies, subject to which company insures you. Some reasons that insurance, including Medicare, may be willing to cover the cost of skin removal surgery include:

  • The procedure delivers a significant impact on your daily life.
  • You have photographic documentation of the issue to emphasize your concerns.
  • Other, more conservative measures have failed to produce results, and you have proof of those attempts.
  • Objective testing proves your doctor’s confirmation.
  • You don’t add on any other procedures, meaning you don’t combine a plastic surgery with medically necessary surgery.
  • You have extensive medical documentation of your doctor’s diagnosis and other specialist treatments.

Be aware that many insurance companies require proof after the fact that these surgeries were performed for medically necessary reasons. As difficult and time-consuming as this may be, your cosmetic surgeon can act as your advocate. In fact, the team at Rowe Plastic Surgery can help you navigate your insurance company’s requirements and paperwork.

What Is Extra Skin Removal Surgery?

Also called a panniculectomy, extra skin removal surgery removes sagging, loose skin from your abdomen. This procedure not only improves your appearance, but often makes you more comfortable. Often, this procedure ends the chaffing created by extra skin left over from extreme weight loss, which is the primary medical reason for the procedure. Examples of this surgical procedure include:

  • This is the most common type of skin removal surgery. Your surgeon removes the fold of skin that hangs below your stomach, often called an apron belly, caused by extreme weight loss. Insurance usually covers this surgery.
  • Tummy tuck. An abdominoplasty eliminates surplus skin and tightens the muscles in your abdomen. There’s a difference between an abdominoplasty and a panniculectomy. <Link to The Difference Between Panniculectomy and a Tummy Tuck> Since a tummy tuck is usually done for cosmetic reasons, it’s questionable if this surgery is covered.
  • Breast lift. <Link to Breast Lift> A mastopexy tightens up and removes loose skin from your breasts. This procedure is categorized as cosmetic and therefore isn’t often covered by insurance.
  • Arm lift. A brachioplasty removes the excess skin under your arm. It’s usually not covered by insurance because it’s not medically necessary.
  • Thigh lift. This surgery is used to contour and shape your thigh while removing excess skin. Insurance doesn’t typically cover these costs, as this is primarily a cosmetic procedure.
  • Upper eyelid surgery. Blepharoplasty removes the extra skin that causes drooping lids that may affect your eyesight. Insurance frequently covers this surgery.

If you think your surgery may be covered by your insurance company, plead your case before you schedule your surgery. First, find out how much your procedure may cost. <Link to How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in NYC?> Then ask the team at Rowe Plastic Surgery about payment plans and other options. Let them help you get your procedure covered by your insurance company, if it’s at all possible. These qualified professionals improve your chances of success.

What Does My Surgery Costs Include and Exclude?

As with most surgeries, the quoted cost covers most services. Still, some services may not be covered in that estimate. Find out ahead of time what these are. To be your own best advocate, ask questions and write down the answers. Most excess skin removal surgeries include:

  • The fee charged by your surgeon
  • An overnight stay in a hospital, if necessary
  • Any attending physician’s fees
  • Pre-operative and post-op consultations
  • Costs of the operating room
  • The anesthesiologist’s fees for general anesthesia
  • One week’s worth of medication

Occasionally, there are unexpected costs for services that aren’t covered. You may want to set aside extra money to cover these circumstances. Your estimated costs may not include:

  • Extra hospital amenities
  • Additional procedures you want done
  • An extended hospital stay

Without Insurance, What Other Payment Options Do I Have?

If you’re bound and determined to have your excess skin removed, but your insurance refuses to pay, you need another funding source. If you don’t have enough money in your savings or you don’t want to deplete your retirement savings, what other alternatives are available to you? You can find several other sources of funding, including:

  • Saving up or budgeting for your procedure
  • Bundling your surgeries and paying in cash, as some surgical practices give discounts for multiple surgeries
  • Using crowdfunding services online
  • Enrolling in a payment plan with your surgeon, if available
  • Using a medical credit card, specifically for uncovered medical procedures
  • Using a new credit card with an introductory zero percent interest for an extended period
  • Getting a fixed rate personal loan from a bank or financial institution
  • Applying to CareCredit, a medical-only credit institution
  • Taking advantage of your health care flexible spending account (HCFSA)

The cost of your surgery also depends on your surgeon’s skill, qualifications and experience. It’s to your advantage to pay a little more to get the results you want. If you’re paying significantly less than the average, you’ll probably get mediocre results. Rowe Plastic Surgery employs only highly trained, certified staff. The testimonies from their patients prove this.

Are There Other Ways to Pay for My Surgery?

There are other methods for financing your surgery. Depending on your situation, some of these payment methods may be more challenging or riskier. Other financial solutions to consider include:

  • A loan from family or friends
  • A gift
  • A loan from your 401(k) retirement account
  • A home equity loan

You may be wise to review your reasons for surgery with family, friends and your surgeon. List all the pros and cons of getting the surgery, compared to its economic impact on your life. Then discuss the list with someone you trust. As with anything, an informed decision leads to better results. Ultimately, isn’t that what you want?

While you want to make a sound financial decision, you also want to come out of the surgery feeling and looking better than you have in years. So it makes sense to contact the experts at Rowe Plastic Surgery in Manhattan, Plainview and Water Mill, NY and in Montclair and Red Bank, NJ. They work with you to help you achieve your goals. And these professionals have an excellent track record for success.


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