Chemical peels are an increasingly popular procedure in medical offices. They have both medical and cosmetic applications. Patients sometimes ask does health insurance cover chemical peels? The answers are yes, no, and it depends. We will discuss the circumstances that determine whether chemical peels are covered by insurance.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a procedure in which a substance, usually an acid, is applied to the skin to beautify it or address a medical problem. The peel increases exfoliation, drains clogged pores, and stimulates collagen.
What do chemical peels help with?
Chemical peels address a variety of issues including acne, sun damage, wrinkles, acne scars, melasma, ingrown hairs, hyperpigmentation, and more.
Chemical peel insurance coverage
Health insurance is for medical problems address by healthcare professionals. Chemical peels are procedures done in both the medical and aesthetic settings. Whether an insurance company will cover the cost of getting a chemical peel depends of the following issues:
1. What is the reason for the chemical peel?
If the chemical peel is purely to make your skin look “pretty” or to address age-related issues such as wrinkles and sun damage, insurance will not pay for the peel. It will sometimes cover medical diagnoses but not cosmetic concerns.
2. Diagnosis- what is the chemical peel treating?
Whether your insurance will cover the cost of your chemical peel also depends on your specific diagnosis. When insurance plans do pay common diagnoses are acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma, and actinic keratoses (precancerous lesions).
3. Type of chemical peel
Another consideration for payment by your health plan is type of chemical peel such as superficial or medium depth peel. The type of peel also must be paired with a covered diagnosis. For example, a plan may pay for a superficial chemical peels for acne, but not hyperpigmentation.
4. What else has been tried?
In some cases, the insurance will pay for a chemical peel for a particular problem only after certain other treatments have failed. An example would be an insurance plan requiring that someone has tried field therapy before they agree to covering medium depth peels for actinic keratoses.
5. Timing of chemical peels
Some plans require that the chemical peel take place at a visit separate from a consultation or other procedure. This just means that the patient must make a separate appointment for the peel.
6. Who is doing the chemical peel?
In addition to licensed healthcare professionals such as doctors, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, aestheticians (estheticians) also perform some peels. Aestheticians are licensed under cosmetology, however, the science of beautification. Health insurance only reimburses for services provided by healthcare professionals. Even when an aesthetician works in a doctor’s office, however, chemical peels they perform cannot be billed to insurance unless they also have a healthcare license such as in the case of nurse aestheticians.
7. Are chemical peels covered by insurance all the time? No.
Even when a chemical peel is for a medical problem, and a licensed health professional does the peel, some insurance plans simply don’t cover this service. The patient can get the benefits of the chemical peel but they will have to pay the fee themselves.
8. “But wait, my insurance covers chemical peels but I got a bill!”
Sometimes when an insurance plan covers a chemical peel there may be a deductible or coinsurance patient responsibility. This means the peel is covered but that the insurance and the patient pay a part of the fee based on the insurance contract.
Chemical peel by dermatologist
At Aglow Dermatology our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dina Strachan, is an experienced expert in doing chemical peels for a variety of problems for patients of all skin types. Our doctor has mastery is matching the right patient with the right peel. Chemical peels are safe and effective in the right hands. A dermatologist, like Dr. Strachan, is the most expert. Are you ready for a chemical peel? Are chemical peels covered by insurance in your case? Contact us here to schedule a consultation.