The medical necessity for treatment of port-wine stains.

Department of Dermatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.
Dermatologic Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.87). 09/1997; 23(8):663-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1997.tb00386.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Port-wine stains are congenital vascular malformations that can be disfiguring and may lead to psychosocial as well as medical complications. The 585-nm pulsed dye laser is very effective in treating port-wine stains. Laser treatment is often viewed by insurance companies as a "cosmetic procedure" and not "medically necessary". Consequently many patients are denied coverage for treatment of their disfiguring birthmarks.
To determine variability of insurance coverage for laser treatment of port-wine stains from state to state. Natural history, progression, and potential complications of port-wine stains are reviewed and rationale for consistent insurance coverage for laser treatment of port-wine stains is given.
A questionnaire was mailed to 40 dermatologic surgeons in 22 states and the District of Columbia. We reviewed the literature regarding port-wine stains and their potential complications, and health care policy guidelines regarding "medical necessity" and "cosmetic procedures".
Insurance coverage for laser treatment of port-wine stains varies from state to state.
Based on current health care policy guidelines, laser treatment of port-wine stains should be regarded, and covered, as a medical necessity by all insurance providers.

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