Wigs and Scarves

I’m Going Through Chemo and I Need a Wig: Will My Insurance Cover It?

+ CV Skinlabs Team

You’re losing your hair and you need a wig. One problem-they can be expensive, from $200–$1,200. Can you get any help from your insurance company?

The short answer-usually. Insurance companies are beginning the realize the necessity of a wig in cases of chemotherapy or alopecia, and many will now cover most or all of the cost. But before you ask, here are a couple things you can do to increase your odds of minimal out-of-pocket expense.

First, get your doctor to write a letter or a prescription that includes information as to why you need it, and that it’s for emotional well being, not for cosmetic reasons. Insurance companies love to turn down cosmetic claims. Specifically, ask him to prescribe a “hair prosthesis” or “full cranial hair prosthesis” instead of just a wig. It’s the same thing, but to the insurance carrier, the word “prosthesis” takes your request out of the “cosmetic” realm. In that case, they’ll usually cover most of the cost.

According to Divas Lace Wigs, “Health insurance providers may cover between 80-100% of the cost for your “cranial prosthesis.” DO NOT request coverage for a wig because more than likely, your claim will be denied. You MUST request a ‘cranial prosthesis.’”

Next, fill out your insurance claim paper and get your doctor to sign it, then send it in together with your doctor’s letter and/or prescription. You may also want to include a picture of yourself with your hair gone, and potentially, a letter from your employer if he/she can further support your need for a wig, as it relates to your ability to do your work.

If all else fails and your insurance won’t cover it, you can appeal the decision and ask for a review by the medical board. In addition, many organizations offer free or reduced-cost wigs, like Locks of Love, Cancer Care, and many more. Another option-use your wig as a medical deduction on your next year’s taxes. Even if you do get some coverage from your insurance company, keep your receipts, as the portion that is not covered can be deducted.

Do you have any tips for getting your insurance to cover your wig?

Photo courtesy of commonogarden via Flickr.com.