Breast reductions are unlike most cosmetic procedures in that they often can be justified as medically necessary. That is, there are real physical symptoms including pain, headaches, rashes, numbness, and tingling that can be relieved by this procedure, also called a reduction mammaplasty. This makes for some very happy patients: not only do they feel a whole lot better afterward, they can also finally find tops that fit.
For many women, this makes the procedure well worth saving up for. But the cost–about $9,000–is not pocket change. That’s because a lot goes into that, including:
- Hospital or facility fees
- Anesthesia fees
- Surgeon’s fees
- Lab and other testing fees
- Prescription medications
- Special garments for after surgery
The good news is there are several options when it comes to paying for your breast reduction.
Whenever a treatment like a breast reduction is deemed medically necessary, there is the potential that insurance will cover it. That is the case for some of the patients we see here in North Texas. But, getting it covered is not always as straightforward as it sounds. It is important that you look closely at your particular insurance policy. Policies vary widely and can even change year to year.
If you think you might be a candidate for insurance coverage, first look closely at your policy, go online, and even call your carrier. If they cover breast reductions, make sure you understand their requirements.
- There may be paperwork that needs to be filed even before your first visit with a plastic surgeon. Many carriers want a paper trail of failed non-surgical treatments for specific complaints. For instance: pain medications or muscle relaxers were prescribed without helping; prescription anti-fungal creams for rashes were unsuccessful; physical therapy or chiropractic care failed to relieve neck pain; or weight loss didn’t change symptoms. It can also be helpful to provide letters from other physicians such as your primary care provider, pain doctor, or ob-gyn, saying that they feel you would benefit from breast reduction.
- You may be required to first consult with an orthopaedic surgeon or undergo weeks of physical therapy treatment.
- You may only qualify for coverage if a certain amount of breast tissue needs to be removed. This is called the Schnur scale and is based on a patient’s height and weight. It is simply a chart that states the weight of tissue that needs to be removed (relative to a your height and weight) to be considered a reduction and not a breast lift.
Watch out for policy exclusions on breast reductions. This means that your carrier will not cover breast reductions, no matter the reason, even if your doctor says it is medically necessary. It is also important to note that the combination of a high deductible and copayment requirements, sometimes make it less expensive to pay outside of your insurance.
The majority of our patients pay for their breast reductions without insurance. The cost can vary depending on each case, but Dr. Slack provides all preoperative and postoperative visits at no additional cost. This usually includes about five visits. Here are the most common ways our patients pay:
Credit: Many of our patients pay by credit card. This can be attractive because of various incentive and points programs available. Watch out for high interest rates, though. You may even be able to take advantage of an introductory offer and pay no interest at all.
Cash or check: In this increasingly paperless society, you may be glad to know that we do still accept cash and checks. Start saving. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll have enough for something that’s important to you, if you pay yourself instead of Starbucks. Better yet, quit smoking (which you need to do before surgery anyway) and you’ll save a bundle.
Medical Financing: Companies like Prosper and CareCredit® offer convenient monthly payment options exclusively for healthcare services. They often have no upfront costs and no prepayment penalties, which means you can get the surgery you want sooner than later.
Whichever way you choose to pay for your breast reduction, it is important to remember that cost is not the only (or most important) factor to consider. The value of a qualified plastic surgeon you can trust, and who gives you the care you need, should not be underestimated.
Dr. Slack will be happy to offer a consultation to help you understand the choices available to you.