In most cases cosmetic surgery is considered optional and as such, most health insurance plans will not cover it. There are instances, however, when cosmetic surgery is medically necessary and is thus, covered under health insurance plans. For example, if you are in an accident such as a fire or automobile accident, especially when injuries to your face result, this falls into the category of medical treatment rather than surgery solely for cosmetic reasons. The same holds true for some conditions with which you are born that can cause problems with your vision, smell, hearing, or eating.
In young children, health insurance often covers cosmetic surgery for conditions that appear to be cosmetic in nature but that may have a detrimental effect on their emotional growth and well-being. There are certain things that are important to children that should be of less importance to adults. Appearances that are harmed because of some type of gestational or early childhood condition should not deter their emotional growth. Fortunately, insurance companies understand this when it comes to children, but in adults, it’s a different story. Unless you need cosmetic surgery for a condition that is accident-related or is inhibiting your bodily functions in any way, they will not pay.
Of course, it is not fair to say insurance companies should cover all cosmetic surgery, because some people are just vain and have no justifiable reason to undergo cosmetic surgery. There needs to be a standard for treatment. However, it shouldn’t have anything to do with age, but rather the physical or emotional impact the condition has on the patient. Too many times it is assumed that adults bear less emotional scars as a result of a disfiguring condition, but that is not always true.
Health insurance covers any kind of accident related injury, including those caused by fire, automobile accident, or any kind of chemical or other type of spill that affects the skin. We mostly think of severe burns when skin grafts are necessary, but sometimes even severe cuts require the skill of a plastic surgeon in order to prevent permanent scarring, especially in young children. Cosmetic surgery has come a long way in the past few years, and conditions that were untreatable even a couple of decades ago can now be treated. Even now conditions that were once considered cosmetic are fully covered by health insurance because of the effect on both the physical and emotional health of the patient.
Of course, there are some things that insurance companies should cover that they still consider cosmetic in many cases, such as removal of skin cancer lesions, scars from moles and acne, and other types of “minor” skin imperfections. Sometimes even for adults, insurance companies consider scars from injuries cosmetic, even if they are obvious enough to cause the patient to feel self-conscious. There needs to be a standard that applies to all of humankind, no matter what the age or gender. Until that happens, one can only say that insurance companies are discriminatory when it applies to cosmetic surgery financing.