Insurance Companies Are Denying Coverage For Lipedema Treatments
Lipedema is a very common yet serious, painful, and crippling condition that affects nearly 11% of adult women worldwide. There are known treatments for lipedema, but insurance companies have taken strong stances against covering the cost of these cures for their paying policyholders. The dedicated and compassionate Los Angeles insurance bad faith attorneys at Gianelli & Morris have made it part of their mission against bad-faith insurance denials to fight for coverage for those who suffer from lipedema. Below find an overview of lipedema and the reasons insurance companies find to deny coverage, as well as our efforts to combat this unjust denial of claims.
What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is an adipose tissue disorder affecting fat cells. The condition is characterized most commonly by rapid, disproportionate growth in the fat cells in the legs of a patient, along with sensitivity to touch, easy bruising, and pain. Unlike normal weight gain, patients who suffer lipedema cannot simply shed the additional weight and size through typical or even extreme weight loss measures. Instead, the legs grow rapidly, often in association with stress or hormonal changes. Patients who suffer lipedema are often misdiagnosed with lifestyle-caused obesity when in reality they suffer from a tissue disorder.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes lipedema as a common disorder that affects up to 11 percent of adult women, as well as some men. The disease is progressive through four stages, which means that the condition gradually worsens, expanding to other areas of the body over time. Fat cells in the arms and legs will continue to grow, which can ultimately disable the patient. The disease is degenerative, painful, disfiguring, and can lead to temporary or permanent disability.
Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Coverage for Lipedema Treatments?
Despite the serious nature of lipedema, insurance companies have been looking for reasons to deny coverage for treatments. Lipedema cannot generally be cured by way of antiviral or antibacterial medication, steroids, or other forms of treatment. Currently, the best known treatment for lipedema is surgery of one form or another. The most common, effective, and least invasive treatment for lipedema is tumescent liposuction of the affected fat cells. Tumescent liposuction involves injecting the affected site with a solution of epinephrine and lidocaine and then removing large volumes of subcutaneous fat. Liposuction can reverse the pain, disfigurement, and immobility caused by lipedema.
The treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and most women diagnosed with lipedema require numerous surgeries to treat their condition, making paying for treatment out-of-pocket all but impossible for most people. Insurance companies, unfortunately, try to label all liposuction as purely “cosmetic.” Cosmetic treatments are those that affect only appearance and are not connected to actually improving health. Many insurance policies do not cover cosmetic treatments. For that reason, even though lipedema is an established condition that can cause pain and disability, and liposuction is a known and effective treatment, insurance companies still attempt to issue blanket denials simply because of the association between liposuction and appearance.
Gianelli & Morris Is Fighting for Coverage for Lipedema Victims
The bad-faith insurance attorneys at Gianelli & Morris believe that women who suffer lipedema deserve treatment for their condition. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes that lipedema is a progressive disease that expands and worsens with time, and that the only option for curing the disease is surgery. We do not agree that vital surgery to cure a crippling disease is merely “cosmetic.” For that reason, we have brought multiple lawsuits, including a class action, against Anthem, Inc. and Anthem Blue Cross of California on behalf of women who were denied coverage for the liposuction necessary to fix this disease. Our firm is well-versed in the effects and harm lipedema causes. We understand that treatment is medically necessary and critical for sufferers to find or maintain functional improvement and a better quality of life.
Speak with a Bad Faith Insurance Attorney in Los Angeles
If you believe you were wrongly denied insurance coverage for lipedema or other unfairly-labeled “cosmetic” treatments following injury or illness, please contact the California insurance law attorneys at Gianelli & Morris in Los Angeles. We’ve fought for policyholder rights in California since 1979, and we can help you obtain the benefits you need to make the most complete recovery possible.