Does Health Insurance Cover Breast Reduction? Analysis

Breast reduction also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a medical procedure that reduces the overall size of a person’s breasts.

For breast reduction surgery, people often ask if insurance covers it.

Insurance for breast reduction
Health insurance for reduction mammoplasty: Photo courtesy (Healthline)

This article covers the topic in depth, giving info from different angles.

Remember, details vary by insurance, so consult your provider for accurate coverage information.

Medical Necessity

First, let’s consider whether breast reduction surgery qualifies as a medical necessity. Insurance providers frequently cover procedures that address health issues and are deemed medically necessary.

Breast reduction surgery might be classified as medically necessary if it is linked to:

  • Chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Rashes or skin irritation due to large breasts
  • Posture problems

In such cases, insurance providers are more likely to cover the cost of reduction mammoplasty surgery.

Pre-Approval and Documentation

Before having breast reduction surgery, you must obtain pre-approval from your insurance provider.

This requires submitting essential documents, like medical records, photos, and a thorough explanation of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life.

It’s advisable to collaborate closely with your healthcare provider to ensure you have all the necessary documents in order.

Also read: Who pays for child health insurance after divorce

Insurance Coverage Criteria

Every insurance provider establishes specific coverage criteria for reduction mammoplasty surgery. Typical requirements include:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): Some insurers may demand individuals to maintain a BMI below a specific threshold.
  • Non-Surgical Treatments: Insurance companies may request patients to undergo a period of non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy or pain management, before they grant surgery approval.
  • Age Limit: Coverage might differ based on age, with some insurers mandating patients to reach at least 18 years.

To determine eligibility, it’s vital to acquaint yourself with your insurance provider’s precise criteria.

Breast reduction insurance coverage
Reduction mammoplasty insurance coverage: Photo source (Healthline)

Out-of-Pocket Costs

Health insurance may cover part of reduction mammoplasty surgery, but patients usually have out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-pays.

These expenses vary based on the insurance policy.

The surgery costs around $5,000 to $10,000 on average.

Prices vary due to location, surgeon skills, and procedure complexity.

Cosmetic vs. Medically Necessary Procedures

Distinguish between cosmetic and medically needed breast reduction.

Insurance usually covers the latter for health reasons.

Cosmetic cases might have limited coverage, though some plans offer partial coverage in certain situations.

Reconstructive Surgery after Mastectomy

Health insurance usually covers reconstructive reduction mammoplasty post-mastectomy, vital for emotional well-being in breast cancer treatment.

Consult your insurance to know reconstruction coverage after a mastectomy.

Individual Insurance Plans

Note that breast reduction coverage differs between insurance plans.

Review your policy details and directly contact your provider to clarify coverage, exclusions, and procedure requirements.


In the end, coverage for reduction mammoplasty hinges on factors like medical need, individual plans, documentation, and provider criteria.

Consult your insurer and healthcare provider to grasp coverage and costs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will health insurance cover breast reduction surgery if it is purely for cosmetic reasons?

Cosmetic reduction mammoplasty coverage is usually limited, but some cases might get partial coverage. Ask your insurer for details.

Can breast reduction surgery be covered by Medicare?

Medicare might cover medically necessary breast reduction, but rules differ. Contact Medicare for specifics.

Are there any alternative treatments for breast reduction covered by insurance?

Insurance might ask for non-surgical options like therapy or specialized bras before surgery.

Ask your insurer about their needs.



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