Chemotherapy can literally be a life saver. One that, unfortunately, comes with some not-so-great side effects.
One of the side effects is that many patients lose their hair. So a common question many in this position have is, “Does Medicare cover wigs for cancer patients?”
In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of wigs for cancer patients and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Wigs For Cancer Patients?
The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of wigs for cancer patients. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your wig.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for wigs for cancer patients. That is because Medicare does not cover products and services that are used for aesthetic reasons.
Medicare Part B considers some prosthetics as Durable Medical Equipment or DME. However, they do not provide coverage for wigs and other hair prosthetics. Even in spite of their benefits in boosting cancer patients’ mental health.
Because of this, Medicare does not consider wigs to be medically necessary. And items that are not considered medically necessary are not covered by Medicare Part B.
All hope is not lost if you have Medicare, however, Some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide coverage for wigs for cancer patients. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers and some additional benefits. However, out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the plan provided by the plan providers.
To find out if a Medicare Part C plan covers a wig, you’ll want to check your plan documents or talk to a plan administrator or benefits coordinator. Some of the Medicare Part C plans cover wigs for cancer patients as long as your healthcare provider prescribes them.
Since Medicare does not provide coverage for wigs for cancer patients, it is important to know how much they cost.
How Much Does Wigs For Cancer Patients Cost?
The cost of the wig will differ depending on the material and the quality of the wig. Basic wigs made out of synthetic hair can cost as little as $30. When you start getting into the $300 – $400 range, you’ll find some synthetic wigs from well respected brands that look fairly realistic and are good quality wigs.
The most realistic looking wigs are made of human hair. Particularly European human hair. This wigs can be quite expensive. Prices for good quality human hair wigs start in the $1,000 – $2,000 range. The highest quality ones can cost $4,000 or more. While expensive, when you wear one of them, hardly anyone will know you’re wearing a wig.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover compounded drugs?