It is not uncommon for people to deal with hair loss as they age. There are a variety of treatment options available, but will Medicare cover them?
Hair loss, also referred to as alopecia, generally is not covered by Medicare. There are exceptions if your doctor deems treatment medically necessary to treat a disease that has caused baldness.
Since Medicare does not usually cover hair loss treatment, it is important to take precautions when you can. Not all hair loss is preventable, though. Some of the things that can cause hair loss are hormones, stress, medications, medical conditions such as iron deficiency, and autoimmune diseases.
Medications that can cause hair loss
Medications that can cause hair loss include:
- Blood thinners
- Vitamin A supplements
- Some arthritis medications
- Gout medications
- Heart medications
- Blood pressure medications
- Birth control pills
In most cases, your doctor can prescribe an alternative medication if you are having problems with the one you are taking.
These are the average costs of some of the main treatments for hair loss:
- Rogaine – $24.00
- Hair transplant surgery – $4,000 to $15,000
- Wig – $30 to $500 (human hair wigs run between $800 and $3,000)
- Hairpiece (toupee) – $100 to $2,000
- Laser treatment – around $2,000 for a 6-month plan
Hair loss treatment can include medications, wigs, hairpieces, laser therapy, and surgery. Your doctor could propose one or multiple of these options to get results.
Medicare may cover the physician’s services that are necessary for hair loss in situations such as a disease that requires prescription drugs under Part B. Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans may provide coverage for any necessary medication that is prescribed by your doctor. Medicare Part D, however, will not typically cover the costs of medications that are used as a treatment for hair loss.
Medicare will not offer coverage if your doctor performs surgery that removes plugs of skin with hair to relocate on part of your head without hair (hair plugs) as a treatment for hair loss. These surgeries can run between $4,000 to $15,000. Generally, Medicare will not cover any surgical hair loss treatment.
If Medicare will not cover medical treatment for your hair loss, you may find that using a wig or hairpiece is the best option for temporary or permanent hair loss. Medicare Advantage may cover the costs of a wig if your hair loss is due to chemotherapy.
Talk to your doctor to find out what your options are and what your plan will cover.