Skip to comments.Medicare Financing Plastic Surgery
Posted on 06/01/2013 4:48:23 AM PDT by Kaslin
What’s the most absurd “health” expenditure by government?
One potential answer is cosmetic surgery for “droopy eyelids.” Here are some of the details from a Miami Herald report.
Aging Americans worried about their droopy upper eyelids often rely on the plastic surgeon’s scalpel to turn back the hands of time. Increasingly, Medicare is footing the bill. Yes, Medicare. The public health insurance program for people over 65 typically does not cover cosmetic surgery… In recent years, though, a rapid rise in the number of so-called functional eyelid lifts, or blepharoplasty, has led some to question whether Medicare is letting procedures that are really cosmetic slip through the cracks — at a cost of millions of dollars. …From 2001 to 2011, eyelid lifts charged to Medicare more than tripled to 136,000 annually, according to a review of physician billing data by the Center for Public Integrity. In 2001, physicians billed taxpayers a total of $20 million for the procedure. By 2011, the price tag had quadrupled to $80 million. The number of physicians billing the surgery more than doubled. …surgeons also acknowledge an increased awareness of the surgery fueled by reality television, word-of-mouth referrals, and advertising that promises a more youthful appearance. And doctors concede they face increased pressure from patients to perform eyelid lifts, even when they do not meet Medicare’s requirement that peripheral vision actually be impaired.
Yet even though the Medicare requirements aren’t being met, these surgeries are still taking place. Why? Well, because the doctors and old people both realize that Uncle Sam will pay the bill so long as you make a nebulous claim that peripheral vision is affected.
Just like doctors and scammers will agree on a diagnosis of “bad back” or “mental illness” in order to get somebody on the taxpayer-financed disability gravy train.
In other words, once politicians create a pile of free money, people will figure out ways of getting their hands on that money.
That’s true for all programs.
But because of the amounts of money involved, Medicare is a far bigger problem than other programs, as explained in this video.
Which is why we desperately need the right kind of entitlement reform.
P.S. You won’t be surprised to know that other nations also have crazy government-financed health systems. In the United Kingdom, for instance, you can get a boob job at taxpayer expense. The government in the United Kingdom also provides taxpayer-financed sex trips to Amsterdam. And the bureaucrats at the European Commission get penile implants at public expense.
My Aunt had her eyelids done.
At 90 y.o. they had drooped so badly she could hardly see, it was certainly not cosmetic surgery.
This is a bogus story. First, the article makes it sound as though this is something that started recently. It did not. I had an older neighbor who had this eyelid surgery 15 years ago. It vastly improved his vision and didn’t help at all with his looks. Medicare paid for it.
As I recall, Medicare will not pay for surgery for the bags under one’s eyes because the bags do not effect your sight and thus this type of surgery is considered to be purely cosmetic work.
I am the unfortunate recipient of genes that combine the worst feature of both parents. My father had deeply recessed eyes, but had wonderfully supple skin around his eyes, my mother had so many folds on her eyelids that it was a wonder she could see at all. I got the worst of both worlds. As a result, based on visual fields testing, I needed my first eyelid reduction before I was 50 years old.
I am now Social Security age and am preparing for my THIRD eyelid surgery, all of which have been covered by insurance (and now Medicare). Looking at my visual field charts, I am surprised that any responsible law enforcement agency would even allow me to drive. When I do drive, I have to tilt my head at odd angles to see overhead traffic lights and peripheral activity.
I’ve been fortunate to be aware of the situation, and can compensate for it to a degree, but often have severe neck and upper back pain because of all of the head movement required.
Within the reduced periphery, my vision is very good, but the danger of my condition is probably more severe than it would be for a person driving with 20/200 vision if I was not accutely aware of it.
The Doc I’m seeing tells me that my upcoming surgery may not be the last. I may end out looking like a Zombie as I get older, but it beats being a public danger on the roads without the surgery.
Not all plastic surgery is performed for appearance reasons only.
I have blepharoplasty. My eye doctor says surgical correction is covered if it interferes with your vision.
And it’s going to finance sex “change” operations, aids treatment, euthanasia and abortions courtesy of 0bamacare.
As it should imho.
In the case of the last two, who decides who gets them?
See post#2 above yours. Obviously you are full of it. Who cares what someone looks like at age 90. It’s not a cosmetic surgery and you wrote that you had an older neighbor whose vision improved by the surgery and then you complain that his looks did not improve.
Both my grandfather and my aunt had this done. My aunt’s eyelids were drooping so badly that her eyelashes were pushed into her eye.
From the looks of things, I’ve got about ten more years before I’m forced to get this done myself.
He wasn’t ‘complaining’... he was pointing out that it wasn’t a cosmetic procedure, it was functional. That the results do not necessarily lead to an improvement in appearance. It’s about vision.
I had a boss that had this surgery years ago. He paid for it himself (or his insurance company paid for it) but it had to be done. His eyelids drooped so much it was causing his eyelashes to scrape his eyes. This isn’t cosmetic and if people are abusing it that should be stopped, but to think that all of these are for vanity is to get it completely wrong.
I think if most folks just stood up and said they had cash in their pocket today....most doctors would drop the cost by fifty percent. The hassle with getting paid....taking weeks and weeks....isn’t business-smart. My doctor would submit the paperwork to my health insurance company, and it’d take a minimum of three weeks to be paid....sometimes, even eight weeks. Cutting the insurance company out, and the accountant hours....might be worth the money.
I can remember what it was like before group insurance. Everything was a LOT cheaper. Maybe we should do away with insurance except for catastrophic insurance that picks up costs after it exceeds $5,000 per incident.
Sharpen your readins skills champ. Or is it just stupidity on your part?
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