A Guide to Getting a Tummy Tuck Paid for by Insurance
Tummy tucks are popular cosmetic surgical procedures, especially among people who’ve recently undergone childbirth or lost significant weight. A tummy tuck can tighten the abdominal muscles and remove excess skin, helping to flatten the midsection.
At Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI, we provide tummy tucks to qualified patients. While tummy tuck surgery offers many benefits, it can be costly. Many of our patients wonder whether insurance will cover their tummy tuck procedure. Fortunately, insurance may cover part of your tummy tuck surgery if you prove it’s a medical necessity.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
So, exactly what is a tummy tuck, and what can you expect when you undergo one? A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that flattens the abdominal region by removing extra skin and excess fat. During an abdominoplasty, the surgeon tightens stretched-out abdominal muscles caused by pregnancy or weight alterations.
An abdominoplasty surgery is a major procedure. Typically, it takes over five hours to perform, and there will be a few weeks of recovery downtime. However, the results of a tummy tuck are often dramatic. Many patients find that their clothes fit better, and they have a tighter midsection following a tummy tuck procedure.
A tummy tuck procedure can eliminate the “apron” that hangs from the lower part of the abdomen. An apron is common in people who lose significant weight or have multiple pregnancies. Abdominoplasty surgery can remove the excess skin from the apron, allowing for a flat midsection.
What Part of a Tummy Tuck Procedure Does Insurance Cover?
Generally, health insurance companies view a tummy tuck as an elective cosmetic procedure, which means they’re unlikely to cover the total cost of your surgery. Even if a tummy tuck would clearly benefit your health, like reducing back or hip pain, the insurance provider will not cover the entire procedure.
However, in certain extenuating cases, having an insurance provider cover part of the cost of a tummy tuck — specifically a panniculectomy — is possible.
Getting Coverage for a Panniculectomy
A panniculectomy involves the removal of excess skin below the belly button. Patients who have experienced significant weight loss often have loose skin beneath the belly button. Excess skin can cause medical problems, like rashes and infections, especially if it extends to the public area.
Sometimes, loose skin can droop as low as the upper legs or knees. In these cases, it can cause difficulty with regular movement, like walking or jogging.
If you can prove that your loose skin is causing health problems, your health insurance provider may cover part of your abdominoplasty surgery, including a panniculectomy. You will then be responsible for the costs of other parts of your surgery, such as liposuction, repositioning the belly button, or tightening the muscles in the abdomen.
People who have previously undergone gastric bypass surgery, or seen dramatic weight loss through diet and exercise, may find it easier to qualify for insurance coverage for the panniculectomy part of a tummy tuck. Providing ongoing evidence of your health concerns related to the excess hanging skin can improve your chances of qualifying for insurance coverage.
Does a Mini Abdominoplasty Qualify for Insurance Coverage?
Some patients don’t need an extensive abdominoplasty and instead seek a mini tummy tuck. A mini abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat that forms beneath the belly button. If you underwent a cesarean section for childbirth, you may benefit from a mini tummy tuck, since it will move the scar to the area just above the pubic region.
You can also incorporate liposuction into the treatment if you have a few pounds of fat you’d like to remove. However, it doesn’t involve any restructuring of the abdominal muscles. While a mini tummy tuck may sound similar to a panniculectomy, it is indeed a different procedure that is not generally covered by insurance.
A panniculectomy typically removes more skin than a mini tummy tuck. Patients who undergo a mini tummy tuck may see a minimal difference in their abdominal region, since the procedure removes only a few inches of skin.
The recovery time is also much shorter for a mini tummy tuck. You can often return to your normal activities after a week of recovery, though you may want to wait a little longer before engaging in vigorous physical activity.
Partial Coverage Can Help Significantly
If you have excess skin in your lower abdominal area that hangs below the pubic region and causes health problems, your healthcare insurance provider may decide to approve the panniculectomy portion of your tummy tuck. Ensure you provide them with thorough documentation of your health conditions to improve your chance of qualifying.
Panniculectomy coverage can significantly reduce the overall total cost of your tummy tuck. We can help you determine whether your tummy tuck will likely qualify for partial insurance coverage and identify the total procedure costs. You may find you can pay for the remainder of your surgery through savings or credit options.
Schedule a Consultation for a Tummy Tuck Today
While undergoing a tummy tuck will require some downtime and recovery, it can also offer long-lasting benefits that can enhance your quality of life. Following the procedure, you’ll find it easier to find clothes that fit you. You can also experience some health benefits, like diminished back and hip pain.
At Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI, we can determine whether a tummy tuck is the right option for you. By developing a safe and effective treatment plan tailored to your needs, we can help you achieve beautiful and natural-looking results. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.