Medicare does not cover cosmetic surgery, but….. sometimes the line between what is medically necessary and what is cosmetic is a bit fuzzy.
I just read in Health News Florida:
The number of eyelid lifts charged to Medicare tripled over a decade, even though the federal health-care program is not supposed to pay for cosmetic surgery, the Center for Public Integrity reports.
More than half of the procedures, called blepharoplasty, were billed from Florida, the center reports. One South Florida surgeon billed Medicare for 2,200 eyelifts in 2008 and was paid $800,000, according to an analysis of payment records.
A friend of mine here in Tucson, who is on Medicare, got her eyelids “fixed” by a plastic surgeon last year. As he was about to begin the surgery, the doctor told her that one eye might have qualified for coverage by Medicare because the lid drooped low enought to partially cover her pupil. This drooping would affect her vision and thus Medicare would pay for it.
My friend was a bit perturbed about the doctor’s statement because she had already paid for her cosmetic surgery and the doctor was about to begin the nip and tuck. She couldn’t say, “Stop! I’d like to get Medicare to pay the $3,000 bill,”