Hair transplants can be quite expensive, which is why many people ask, “does insurance cover hair transplants?”
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), more than 90% of the U.S. population has private or public health insurance. And the total health expenditures are in trillions of dollars.
Typically, these insurance plans cover essential health and wellness benefits. However, they all have a common theme: no elective or cosmetic procedures.
And since a hair transplant is considered a cosmetic surgery, you’ll rarely, if ever, get insurance coverage for this procedure. Still, there are exceptions that you should know about. Additionally, you might be able to get some other hair loss treatments on your insurance.
Does Health Insurance Cover Hair Transplants?
Health insurance companies usually don’t cover hair transplants. That’s because it’s an elective surgical procedure for a non-life-threatening issue. It’s rarely considered a medical necessity, in which case your insurance might cover it.
It’s important to understand the meaning of “medical necessity” here. According to Medicare – federal health insurance for people who’re 65 or older – medical necessity is defined as:
“Health-care services or supplies needed to diagnose or treat an illness or injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.”
These guidelines determine which healthcare services will be paid for by your insurance.
Depending on the state’s laws and regulations, public health insurance’s definition of medical necessity can vary. Similarly, different private health insurance companies have their own definition of what’s considered a medical necessity.
Even so, hair transplants are rarely covered by health insurance, especially for cosmetic reasons.
Does Any Insurance Cover Hair Transplant Surgery?
Considering that hair transplantation is a medical procedure, only health insurance will cover it. However, even then, because of its cosmetic nature, it’s rarely available on any kind of insurance plan.
Although a hair transplant might be covered by your insurance if you can prove its medical necessity.
When Does Health Insurance Cover Hair Transplants?
Hair transplants may be covered by your health insurance if:
- You’ve experienced hair loss due to an illness.
- You’ve experienced hair loss due to an accident or burn injury.
- You’re experiencing mental distress due to your hair loss.
For instance, gender dysphoria – a disability which can cause “significant distress,” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – patients may be able to get a hair transplant with some insurance companies.
But, if there’s an underlying mental health problem, you might first be referred to a therapist or psychologist.
Other than that, if you’ve lost your hair due to a traumatic accident, you may be able to get a hair transplant since the surgery will be deemed more “reconstructive” than “cosmetic.”
In any case, keep in mind that your procedure has to be considered a “medical necessity.”
How To Request Hair Transplant Insurance Coverage?
If you think that your hair transplant is a medically necessary treatment, you must gather all the necessary documentation to support this.
As a first step, you might have to provide a “letter of medical necessity (LOMN)” written by your licensed doctor, along with your medical records. They will be used in the evaluation of your health plan.
If your treatment is found to be a medical necessity, you will get coverage for your hair transplant. However, keep in mind that, more often than not, this isn’t the case.
Even if your hair transplant is for both reconstructive and cosmetic reasons, you might not be able to get any coverage.
Do Insurance Companies Reimburse You For Hair Transplants?
It’s important to note that even if you’ve already had a hair transplant, you can request coverage. Depending on whether your insurance company considers it medically necessary, the procedure might be reimbursed in full or in part.
However, we must reiterate that it doesn’t usually happen. Even if your doctor considers the surgery a necessity, it won’t be covered by your insurance unless your insurer agrees.
What Other Hair Loss Treatments Are Covered By Insurance?
Most hair loss treatments are not covered by health insurance companies (public or private). These treatments include:
- Medication (minoxidil, finasteride, spironolactone)
- Laser therapy
- Cranial hair prosthesis or wigs
- Platelet-rich plasma injections
In general, drugs like minoxidil, finasteride and spironolactone are covered by insurance but not when they’re used for treating hair loss.
Medicare, however, states that in rare circumstances, it might cover hair loss medication. But again, it has to be considered a medical necessity by your doctor and by Medicare.
When it comes to wigs, although insurance companies prefer the term “cranial prosthesis,” they may cover part of the cost if it’s considered medically necessary.
This is usually the case if you need a wig due to cancer treatment or an autoimmune condition like alopecia areata.
What Are Your Options If You Can’t Get Insurance For A Hair Transplant?
If you can’t get insurance coverage for your hair transplant, you can consider the following options:
Hair Transplant Finance
Different financing and payment options are available at many hair transplant clinics.
Medical financing plans (aka loans) are usually provided by independent lenders, and the payments are spread out so that you don’t have to pay a lump sum.
As part of their services, the clinic usually assists with the application process.
Non-Surgical Hair Loss Treatments
If you can’t afford hair transplant surgery, it may be a good idea to consider non-surgical treatment alternatives for hair loss.
Remember, though, that if you decide to take medications for hair loss, you’ll need to keep taking them to maintain results. So, their accumulative cost can be quite significant, and they can cause some unpleasant side effects.
You might also not get any dramatic results with these treatments.
On average, a hair transplant in the US can cost you anywhere from $4000 to $10,000.
Since that’s quite expensive, many people choose to come to Turkey for their hair transplant. There, the same surgery will cost you around $2,000 because of the low cost of living and the weakening of the Turkish lira.
So, does insurance cover hair transplants? No. Health insurance, whether it’s public or private, will rarely provide coverage for hair transplants. And the reason behind it is that the surgery is considered “cosmetic.”
Baldness isn’t something that necessitates emergency services. It isn’t considered a danger to your health. However, it can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider other options. And if you’re not sure about the medical policies of your insurance provider, make sure to get in touch with them.