Insurance Coverage Assistance

Some insurance companies realize that removal of breast implants can be medically necessary for women’s health to improve and will offer policies to cover the removal surgery. Obtain a copy of your insurance policy and review it to see if they are likely to pay for the removal. Generally, the insurance criteria focus on capsular contractures, ruptures, and pain. Accompany one or more medical necessity letter(s) with the specific insurance codes, some are listed below. The process of getting approved may require tenacity and perseverance, if you get denied the first time repeal as many times as necessary. Don’t get discouraged, one lady reapplied three times and then was approved. The key with insurance is really to be persistent. Please see here for the success stories of some women who got their insurance to approve. If you have exhausted the appeals procedure, you can file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner. Finally, if all else fails, you can hire an attorney to write your insurance a letter for failing to cover a medically necessary procedure. Several lawsuits have succeeded in forcing insurance companies to pay, therefore a precedent has been set.

Insurance companies that have covered women:

  • Aetna (link)
  • Aultcare: OH
  • Blue Cross / Blue Shield: NM, WA, OK
  • Cigna: UT, CO
  • Moda: WA
  • United Healthcare: TX

Please note that policies vary by state and coverage depends on your specific medical circumstances.

The National Center for Health Research is a nonprofit organization assisting women who seek health insurance coverage or Medicare coverage for the medically necessary removal of their breast implants. Diane Zuckerman (president) and Farzana Akkas (research and public health fellow) are the contacts there to help women in the insurance process. Their respective emails are:  [email protected] and [email protected]. Message received from them: “If you are having problems with your breast implants, we want to help you succeed in getting health insurance coverage so you can get them removed as soon as possible.  Please reply if you’d like our help!”

Another resource for assistance in the insurance process is Breast Implant Information, sponsored by the National Center for Health Research. If you would like their assistance, please take this short survey, and they should be in touch with you. Or you can also contact them at [email protected] or (844) 295-2212. They recommend taking the following steps and can assist you with them:

  1. Send them a copy of your insurance policy so they can review it.
  2. Get a consultation with plastic surgeon who is experienced in explant.
  3. Ask your surgeon/doctor if they can write a letter of medical necessity and help you file a claim.
  4. File your claim with the relevant medical documents, medical necessity letter, and insurance codes.
  5. If you get approved, congratulations! If you get denied, appeal as many times as necessary.

“If your implants were put in after a mastectomy and your doctor believes that removing your implants is “medically necessary,” then your health insurance is legally obligated to cover your breast implant removal.  Click here to learn more about your rights under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA).”1 

If you have a silicone gel breast implant in your body and you were implanted before December 31st, 2006, you can contact the Explant Financial Assistance Program. They can cover up to $5,000. This is if the silicone gel implant is “ruptured or you have other health problems such as inflammation or severe contracture; and you don’t have Medicare or health insurance coverage or the ability to pay for the surgery.” International assistance is also offered but is more difficult, the best way to figure out the logistics is to contact the program.

Medicare and Medicaid often cover the costs of breast implant removal. If you have applied or are on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD/SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you may be able to have the costs of explantation covered by them. The problem with Medicare is that they do not preapprove anything. Your local Medicare or Medicaid office is likely to have a list of plastic surgeons that accept their coverage. Ensure they will remove the implants with full capsule removal, via en bloc or total capsulectomy.

Insurance companies would save on years or decades of unnecessary medical costs by recognizing the necessity of explant surgery as a cost effective protocol to prevent further systemic illness.

Insurance Codes:

CPT

19371-50 – Periprosthetic capsulectomy, breast – the 50 modifier is for – Bilateral Procedure

ICD 10

T85.49XA – Other mechanical complication of breast prosthesis and implant, initial encounter
T85.79XA – Infection and inflammatory reaction due to other internal prosthetic devices, implants and grafts
T85.84XA – Pain due to internal prosthetic devices, implants and grafts
T85.44XA – Contracture of Breast Prosthesis
T85.43XA – Rupture of Breast Prosthesis
N64.81 – Breast Ptosis
N64.4 – Mastodynia