Will Insurance Pay For My Abdominal Panniculectomy?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting a body lift. I have had bariatric surgery two years ago and I need to get rid of excess skin. This excess skin around my waistline is causing severe chafing. My insurance won’t cover ‘cosmetic’ surgery. My question is this: can we get insurance to cover it if it is a medical necessity?

A: Insurance in some cases will cover an abdominal panniculectomy but it depends if the abdominal pannus meets several criteria established by the insurance industry. for such coverage. The abdominal pannus must of a certain size as seen in multiple view pictures (hangs down onto the upper thighs), have a medically documented history by a physician of skin rashes/infections that failed to be resolved by topical therapies and one must be of appropriate weight based on their height. (within 20% of their ideal body weight) Fulfilling these criteria is what constitutes ‘medically necessary’ and such information must be submitted to the insurance company for them to pass judgment on whether it is covered or not.

Even if determined medically necessary, insurance will only cover the front half of the trunk (abdominal panniculectomy) and to the back half or the full body lift.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana