The public health insurance program for people age 65 and over (also known as Medicare) usually does not cover cosmetic surgery because it is considered an elective and unnecessary procedure.
However, in cases where sagging eye lids affect vision, Medicare has been paying for "eye lifts."Interestingly, in recent years, the proliferation of the procedure, that is the rapidly increasing number of operations for "eye lifts," has led many medical professionals and members of the federal government involved in health care to question whether the stated need -- and the operation it leads to -- is on the up-and-up or, put differently, legitimate.
Known as blephamoplasty, the cost to Medicare, a program that is already in financial distress, has run into millions and millons of dollars.
Government oversight of this program and its viability as a necessary medical procedure has been lax at best. But that may be changing because so many operations have been performed in just the past couple of years or so.
The suspicion is that the procedure is cosmetic much more frequently than it is medically necessary. Of course, that has yet to be proven. But closer scrutiny appears to be on the way. And if conclusions of those who conduct the research is that "eye lifts" are done for cosmetic reasons and not for medical reasons, that operation will quickly become "a thing of the past."
As a Plastic Surgeon and a medical professional, it's important that you remain aware of this ongong controversy and that you prepare to eliminate "eye lifts" from your practice, if required.
It may never come to that, but you need to be ready to strike them from your long list of surgical procedures, if "eye lifts" become known as an elective process.
It really is as simple as that.