5 things most Obamacare plans won't cover

Health Insurance » Obamacare » 5 Things Most Obamacare Plans Won't Cover

Cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery © VILevi/

Cosmetic surgery

You may want to change something about your appearance. But with Obamacare plans, you're likely to pay for that procedure on your own dime unless your insurer recognizes it as medically necessary.

Health insurance generally doesn't cover elective cosmetic surgery. However, not only does Obamacare not cover nips and tucks from a plastic surgeon, but it almost taxed them. An early draft of the health reform law included a 5 percent excise tax on cosmetic procedures, nicknamed the "Botax." It was later replaced by a 10 percent tax on tanning services.

Typically, the only time a health plan will cover plastic surgery is if you've suffered severe injuries, such as burns. Such procedures that are reconstructive in nature usually are not considered merely cosmetic and may be covered as a medical necessity.

"Private insurers still retain some leeway to determine what is medically necessary," says David Howard, associate professor of health policy and management at Emory University in Atlanta. However, insurers often grant physicians the discretion to practice medicine as they see fit, he adds.


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