Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure used to reduce excess fat in certain areas of the body. It can improve the body’s proportions and be performed on the hips, buttocks, upper arms, abdomen, thighs, waist, chest, and back. It’s considered plastic surgery and sometimes paired with a tummy tuck or breast reduction. However, it’s not a treatment for obesity and cannot replace a healthy diet and exercise.
Does Medicare cover liposuction?
No, Medicare does not cover liposuction because it is deemed a cosmetic and elective surgery. In fact, no insurance company will cover liposuction. If you wish to have liposuction done, you will need to pay for it out of pocket.
Original Medicare will only cover liposuction if it is deemed medically necessary and required to improve the function of a malformed organ or correct an accidental injury. If a patient feels like liposuction is medically necessary, they should contact Medicare directly to find out if they’re eligible for coverage.
What are some liposuction alternatives?
Even though Medicare (and Medicaid) doesn’t cover liposuction, they may cover other weight loss procedures like gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy procedure.
To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must:
- Have one or more instances of co-morbidity (a serious illness caused by obesity, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea)
- Have been obese for the past five years
- Have a BMI of 35 or higher
- Show that you have enrolled in a medically supervised weight loss program and that you have failed at least one in the past
- Provide Medicare with a letter from your doctor recommending weight loss surgery
- Undergo a physical test
- Have your doctor demonstrate that all other medical conditions (like pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal conditions) have been ruled out as potential causes of the obesity
Even though weight loss surgery sounds like a lengthy process, your chances of getting it covered by Medicare are significantly higher than getting liposuction covered.
If you truly feel like you need liposuction, you may be able to finance the procedure through the provider or specialist who performs it.