Will Your Insurance Help Pay for Your Tattoo Removal if Its Causing Medical Problems?

like BDD?

Doctor Answers 6

Will Pay With Allergic Reaction

The only circumstance in which an insurance company will pay for tattoo removal is if you have a persistent allergic reaction to your tattoo which does not respond to normal, conventional treatment.

Allergic reactions to the metal salt used in tattoos are fairly common. Cobalt, chromium, cadmium and mercury all can lead to a reaction in allergic individuals. This is clinically in the form of bumps or nodules. Occasionally there is an generalized eczematous response. Treatment is injections of cortisone into these bumps, sometimes supplemented with oral steroids. 

Mercury, in the form of red cinnabar, is the most likely to cause symptoms such as itching, swelling and nodules. Occasionally, and I have seen this happen, a tattoo which has been lying dormant for years, suddenly erupts in an severe allergic reaction. One tip here, if you have had this reaction to the red in a tattoo, avoid contact lens solution with Thimerosal or vaccines that contain this mercury based product. 

Incidentally, the other colors that can cause these type of reactions are: Chrome: green....Cobalt: Blue....and Cadmium: Yellow.


Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tattoo Removal

You would be a great candidate for the Alex Trivantage laser. This laser is the only one on the market that can target colors.  The multiple wave lengths can target all the colors in the tattoo with 4-6 sessions.  You should contact a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible.

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Tattoo Removal

If there is an allergic reaction to tattoo pigment, then one must be very careful with laser treatment because it could cause the pigment to spread into the body and cause a generalized allergic reaction.  Sometimes tattoos with allergic reactions can be excised if they are small enough.  This could possibly be covered by insurance.  It would be very unlikely for insurance to cover laser treatment for an ordinary tattoo.  I have had insurance cover laser treatment for an embedded fireworks "tattoo" but that is a rare circumstance. 

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Insurance Coverage for Medical Problems after Tattoo Removal

While insurance could cover problems that required a doctor office visit such as an infection or allergy, in our office we would take care of a patient who had such a problem without charge.  For an infection we would prescribe antibiotics, and for an allergy, steroid cream or antihistamines.

In over fifteen years of treating tattoos with lasers, I can count the number of post-treatment infections on one hand, and I have seen only one case of significant allergy.  That occurred after treatment of a red tattoo. Apparently the laser activated some mineral in the ink and the patient became sensitized to it.  

I would imagine that if you went to a second physician for a medical problem like an infection or allergy, insurance would cover it just as it would for an infection or allergy from any other source.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Tattoo removal for medical reasons

Thank you for the question.

In general, it would be unlikely that an insurance company would cover tattoo removal expenses.  I am curious to know what kind of "medical problems" your tattoo is causing-  for example if a tattoo has caused scarring that limits range of motion of a joint then it is conceivable that treatment may be covered by an insurance company.

It is in your best interest to be evaluated in person by a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Will Your Insurance Help Pay for Your Tattoo Removal if Its Causing Medical Problems?

The vast majority of medfcal insurance companies do NOT pay for cosmetic surgery (defined as procedures which do not save life or improve function).

It has been proved in multiple studies that Cosmetic Surgery dos not correct certain psychiatric conditions such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) but may actually worsen it.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.