Medicare and Liposuction
This article was updated on: 09/10/2018
What is liposuction?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), liposuction slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat and improving the body’s contours and proportion. Liposuction can be performed on the hips and buttocks, upper arms, abdomen and waist, thighs, back, and chest. Liposuction is considered plastic surgery and may be performed along with a tummy tuck or breast reduction. According to ASPS, liposuction is not a treatment for obesity and liposuction can’t substitute for proper diet and exercise.
Good candidates for liposuction are within 30% of their ideal weight, according to ASPS.
Does Medicare Cover Liposuction?
In most cases, Original Medicare does not cover cosmetic surgeries, such as liposuction. Generally, Original Medicare only offsets the costs of cosmetic surgeries that are required to improve the function of malformed organs or correct accidental injuries.
Those who seek liposuction to deal with weight-related medical conditions may be able to get Original Medicare to cover alternative operations, such as gastric bypass surgery. However, beneficiaries who believe they have a medical necessity for liposuction should contact Medicare directly to find out whether they’re eligible for coverage.
Alternatives to Liposuction
According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy eating and exercise, not liposuction, are the best way to eliminate excess body fat. The SilverSneakers program is offered by some Medicare Advantage plans to encourage older adults to participate in physical activities. Whether or not you get liposuction, the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days. (Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.) Medicare Part B also generally covers obesity screening and counseling for Medicare beneficiaries who have a body mass index of 30 or more. To learn your BMI, go to the National Institute of Health.
Do you have more questions about Medicare and liposuction coverage?
I can help you look through Medicare Advantage plan options that may provide additional coverage for some of the alternatives to liposuction discussed above. If you would like to set aside some time for us to speak, use the link below to request a time for me to call you. Alternatively, I can send you an email with information specific to your needs so we can talk about courses of action. If you’d like to browse your other Medicare plan options on your own, then click the Compare Plans buttons on this page.