Looking for a health insurance company willing to cover rhinoplasty? This is a task that’s easier said than done, whether you currently have health insurance or you’re attempting to find a new policy. Most health insurance companies are not going to cover your surgery. This article will discuss all of the implications of rhinoplasty including what it is, when it’s covered by insurance, and how to pay for it when it’s not covered.
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According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors performed more than 250,000 rhinoplasty surgeries during the 2010 calendar year. That number represents a 2% increase over the previous year.
It’s important to note that while plastic surgeries are continuing a downward trend in the United States, rhinoplasty is still on the rise. Some of this is due to the medical community suggesting the surgery as a means of alleviating some types of breathing issues.
What exactly is rhinoplasty?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons defines a rhinoplasty as a surgical procedure designed to improve the shape, proportion, and appearance of the nose. You might be familiar with the more common term “nose job.”
Most often the surgery is used to enhance the physical appearance of those who might be sensitive to their current looks. Sometimes the surgery is used to correct chronic breathing issues that might be caused by shape or proportion issues in relation to the nasal passages.
Rhinoplasty is typically outpatient surgery performed in a plastic surgeon’s office or clinic. It is not a complicated surgery, but it can result in complications if patients do not follow instructions for postoperative care.
As with any surgery, rhinoplasty can result in unintended infection at the site of the incision. Your plastic surgeon will go through all of the benefits and possible risks of rhinoplasty during your initial consultation. Make sure you understand all of the implications before electing to have the procedure done. Be sure you fully understand the instructions you receive regarding what to do after surgery.
Why is it difficult to find health insurance that will cover rhinoplasty?
The vast majority of rhinoplasty procedures are elective, according to WebMD’s MedicineNet.com website. Health insurance companies routinely make a practice of denying coverage for elective surgeries. Many companies use this as a means of keeping health insurance costs down for all of their customers. If elective surgeries were not controlled in this way, they might potentially open a floodgate that could bankrupt even the most financially secure insurance companies.
One exception to the rule is in a case where an abnormal condition of the nose is causing legitimate health issues for the patient. For example, someone whose nose was damaged in a car accident may find it extremely difficult to breathe afterwards. If a doctor deems it unsafe to leave his nose in that condition he may recommend rhinoplasty as a corrective measure. When the surgery is deemed medically necessary most health insurance companies will cover it in full.
The only way to know for sure if your insurance company covers rhinoplasty is to read your policy documents or contact them directly. If you’re planning to change insurance companies in the future, and you’d also like to have rhinoplasty done, you can make that coverage part of your search for a new health insurance company.
How do I pay for rhinoplasty if my insurance won’t cover it?
The cost of rhinoplasty is hard to pin down due to the fact that so many different plastic surgeons offer it at different rates. The fee charged by individual doctors depends on:
- geographic location
- the average income of their client base
- the surgeon’s experience
- the demand for their services
Because plastic surgery is expensive and usually not covered by health insurance companies, most mainstream surgeons offer payment plans. You should ask about financing your surgery through such a plan as part of your initial consultation. Another option is to pay for your surgery using a credit card, although you’ll end up paying double digit interest for elective surgery!
A typical procedure can cost thousands of dollars when you include anesthesia, pre and postoperative care, and prescription medication. Should complications arise that require further treatment, they will also add to the cost. Keep in mind that a health insurance company usually has the right to deny payment for complications arising from elective surgery.
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