Category Archives: Medicare

Will Medicare Pay to Remove My Breast Implants?


Medicare usually covers breast implant (saline or silicone) removal for any of these conditions:

  • Painful capsular contracture with disfigurement
  • Implant rupture
  • Infection
  • Implant extrusion (coming through the skin)
  • Interference with the diagnosis of breast cancer
  • Siliconoma or granuloma (silicone-filled lumps under the skin)

Medicare coverage can differ depending on the state where you live. You can check the specific Medicare policies on breast implants removal in your state here.

Whether or not Medicare will pay for your breast implant removal depends on many factors. Below are some questions that will help you figure this out.

Original Medicare Plan

Original Medicare means you’re enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B and don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan.

1) Is your surgeon a Medicare Participating Provider “who takes assignment?” If you aren’t sure, ask the surgeon’s office whether they “take assignment.”

  • A surgeon who “takes assignment” has agreed to accept the Medicare fee as full payment for the surgery. The surgeon must submit the claim for your surgery directly to Medicare. Your surgeon CANNOT charge you, except for the deductible and/or copay amounts that Medicare doesn’t cover. Your surgeon should call the Medicare provider line to see if your surgery will be covered.
  • Even if your surgeon doesn’t think Medicare will cover the surgery, you still should ask the surgeon’s office to call the Medicare provider line to check. Many surgeons don’t know that Medicare will cover breast implant removal, so it’s important to have them check.
  • A Medicare Participating Provider who takes assignment IS REQUIRED to submit your Medicare claim within a year of your surgery. If they don’t, Medicare won’t pay and the doctor might try to get the patient to pay. That isn’t fair, so don’t let that happen to you.
  • You can check for Medicare participating providers here.

2) Is the surgeon you are thinking of using a Medicare non-Participating Provider “who does NOT take assignment?”

  • A surgeon who “doesn’t take assignment” can charge you up to 115% of the Medicare-approved fee. You might be asked for full payment upfront (at the time the surgery is done).
  • A surgeon who does not usually “take assignment,” can do so on a case-by-case basis, so you should check to see if the surgeon is willing to “take assignment” from Medicare in your case.
  • A surgeon who doesn’t take assignment may not be able to submit your claim to Medicare. You should ask the surgeon’s office who will be responsible for filing your claim. If the surgeon agrees to file, you should check to make sure it is filed soon. IMPORTANT: If it is not filed within one year of your surgery, Medicare will NOT pay the claim and you may be liable for the entire amount.
  • If your surgeon won’t submit your claim to Medicare, you can fill out this form for reimbursement with Medicare.

3) Has the surgeon you plan to use “Opted Out” of Medicare?

  • Surgeons who have “opted out” of Medicare don’t take assignment, submit Medicare claims, or limit fees to the Medicare-approved fee amounts.
  • Surgeons who have “opted out” of Medicare are REQUIRED to notify the patient with a written contract. This contract confirms that a patient understands she is directly responsible for paying the surgeon whatever he or she charges and that she CANNOT seek reimbursement from Medicare.

4) Do you have a supplemental insurance plan in addition to your Medicare coverage?

  • A supplemental plan might cover the deductible and/or copay amounts.
  • Medicare is your primary insurance and will reimburse the surgeon. You will need to get approval from Medicare BEFORE going to your supplemental plan.

Medicare Advantage Plan

1) Are you enrolled in a Medicare Part C Advantage Plan?

2) Is your surgeon part of your Plan network? If you are unsure, ask your Plan.

Because Medicare Part C Advantage Plans deal with Medicare directly, you won’t have to submit a claim to Medicare.

If your surgeon is NOT in your Plan network of providers, you may have to submit a claim directly to your Plan, Your Plan may limit what they will pay for your surgery. IMPORTANT: To avoid unplanned expenses, check with your Plan BEFORE you schedule surgery with a surgeon who is outside your Plan network.

3) Does your Plan require that you get pre-approval for your surgery and, if so, have you received pre-approval?

Most plans require that you get permission from your Plan before the surgery. If you don’t get pre-approval, the Plan might not cover your surgery.

Are you on Medicare and Medicaid?

People who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid are called “Dual Eligible Beneficiaries.” They are enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B and receive full Medicaid benefits and assistance with Medicare premiums.

If you’re dual eligible, your medical services generally are usually paid at the Medicare-approved amount. Because it depends on your unique situation, you should speak to your primary care doctor about the specifics.

All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.

Sample Letters of Medical Necessity for Insurance Coverage of Explantation

If you want to have your breast implants removed for medical reasons, and want your insurance company to pay for it, you will need a letter of medical necessity sent from your doctor to the insurance company.  Most plastic surgeons are not experienced at writing these letters, but we are!  Below are several sample letters of medical necessity describing different medical reasons for needing to have your breast implants removed.

For augmentation patients, most insurance companies will only cover the cost of breast implant removal for capsular contracture, chronic breast pain, or ruptured silicone gel implants. For that reason, our three sample letters focus on those issues. However, if you have other issues such as seromas or autoimmune disease symptoms, please reach out to us and we can help you find a compelling way to explain your symptoms to your insurance company. Unfortunately, we have found including breast implant illness or other autoimmune or connective tissue disease symptoms in your insurance claim makes it more likely that your claim will be denied.  However, we can work with you to maximize your chances of being covered.

If you are using these letters without our guidance, please be aware that these are broad examples that need to be tailored to your specific case. Please make sure to edit all the highlighted portions and to make sure that the letter accurately reflects your symptoms. We would be happy to assist you in strengthening your letter by personalizing it on your behalf.  If you would like our assistance, please take our short survey and we will email you soon! You can also reach us at info@breastimplantinfo.org.

Letter for Ruptured Silicone Gel Implants – Here is our sample letter of medical necessity written for a woman with at least one ruptured silicone gel breast implant. Click here to download this letter as a word document you can edit.

Letter for Capsular Contracture – Here is our sample letter of medical necessity written for a woman with hard or painful breasts caused by capsular contracture (classified as Baker III or IV). Click Here to download this letter as a word document you can edit.

Letter for Breast Pain – Here is our sample letter of medical necessity written for a woman who has chronic breast pain or back pain caused by the weight of her implants, but does not have capsular contracture (her breasts do not feel hard). Click Here to download this letter as a word document that you can edit.

Medicare Breast Implant Removal Policies by State


Click on your state (or territory) below to see it’s official Medicare policy on breast implant removal.

If your state/territory isn’t listed, it doesn’t have its own policy. You can look at this policy, which is usually borrowed by states that don’t have their own policy.  

Alabama

Alaska

American Samoa

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut 

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Guam

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

North Carolina

North Dakota

Northern Mariana Islands

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virgin Islands

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming