Why Won’t My Insurance Company Pay For My Abdominal Panniculectomy?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have been fighting my insurance company since last year due to a yeast infection under the pannus of my stomach. The insurance denied the surgery, saying it was cosmetic, but recently these huge purple marks have appeared and are very thin. A nurse friend said they feel like a blister about to pop and are concave. However, these marks keep spreading across the pannus. My question to you, is, would you, or do you know of a surgeon that would be willing to use me as a teaching subject and take me on as a case study and do the surgery as pro bono? I have had this yeast infection for 7 years and now I am at a standstill. Any advice you could offer would be more then generous. Thank you so much for your time.

A: Battling insurance companies to get coverage for abdominal panniculectomies is standard and the denials and appeals can go on for years. But this is fight you must continue and eventually you should win because you have a real medical necessity condition that justifies an abdominal panniculectomy. It is also a fight you must continue because you are not going to find a plastic surgeon to do it at their own expense. There are also numerous other expenses of surgery (OR, anesthesia, etc) that must be paid that go way beyond whatever a surgeon’s fee is.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana