Will insurance cover or help with any skin removal surgeries after major weight loss?

I've always been told that insurance won't cover any skin removal surgeries because they are considered cosmetic. i have also been told they might cover certain surgeries. I am at a 160 pound weight loss and I have excess skin on my abdomen, inner thighs, arms, back, my breasts are sagging, etc. Basically, I have excess skin almost everywhere and it makes me uncomfortable. I have united healthcare. Does insurance usually help with skin removal surgeries after weight loss?

Doctor Answers 4

Insurance help with excess skin

Hello and thank you for your question. Congratulations on your weight loss. Yes insurance does sometimes cover the removal of excess skin, usually only the excess tummy skin. They never cover a tummy tuck  (even when they say they do) but do a panniculectomy, which is removal of excess skin, without contouring.
Peter Fisher M.D.


San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Insurance Coverage

Thank you for your question and congratulations on your successful weight loss! In my experience, a body lift is never covered by insurance. If deemed medically necessary, some insurance companies will cover a panniculectomy on a case by case basis, but at no time an abdominoplasty. This is great question to ask your insurance company regarding your plan’s coverage. I also advise consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with body contouring procedures. Best of luck to you, Dr. Brian Coan

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Insurance coverage for help with skin removal?

First, congratulations on your weight loss, no doubt this has transformed you life and your health!  Insurance policies vary widely from company to company and even across the country, but in my experience, the only time insurance usually gets involved in paying for part of the skin removal is for a "panniculectomy" or "apronectomy" which removes the excess skin below the belly button but does not remove excess skin above (thus does not move the belly button) or tighten the belly wall.  Usually they only pay in this instance if you are having problems with recurrent rash and infections under the lower skin fold "pannus" despite appropriate medical therapy.  Beyond that, I have rarely if ever seen coverage for inner thighs, arms, back, or sagging breasts.  Best of luck with any body contouring you pursue!

Jeffrey A. Sweat, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Body Contouring

You are correct that most often insurance will not cover body contouring procedures after massive weight loss. There are the occasional exceptions. Recommend evaluation by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to discuss surgical options. 

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