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How do I get my insurance to pay for my facial wasting treatment?
Jun 28, 2008

Hello Nelson-

I hope this finds you well. I wanted to check in with you to see if you were aware if there is any insurance coverage for silicone treatments for facial wasting. I have had several sessions, and it works great. It is not cheap, of course. I am in need of a refresher treatment. I should mention that my insurance is Medicare A,B and D. I receive my meds through a Blue Cross-Part D plan, backed up by ADAP.

Neal

Response from Mr. Vergel

Neal,

It is difficult to get reimbursement for Silikon 1000 since it is an off-label use for facial wasting, but you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain if you have your doctor write a medical necessity letter to send to your insurance company.

Here is a letter that Dr. Doug Mest wrote for my web site facialwasting.org for Sculptra. You can have your doctor use this letter as a template and also to use these scientific references. You can also visit the wonderful resource guide that TheBody.com has created for trying to get coverage for facial lipoatrophy reconstruction options from your insurance:

http://www.thebody.com/lipo/insurance.html

References for silicone and facial lipoatrophy:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PDG/is_2_4/ai_n13559216

SAMPLE LETTER:

Insurance Co Name

Insurance Co Address

Patient Name

Subscriber #

Date

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is written in regards to the medical necessity of restorative treatment for the facial deformities this patient suffers from secondary to HIV-Associated Lipoatrophy. Facial fat loss is the most devastating aspect of this condition as it can not be disguised by clothing or other means. Although the exact underlying mechanism of HIV-Associated Lipoatrophy is unknown (1), the devastating effects of this condition are known (2,3). Patients suffering from this condition are at an increased risk of depression, socially withdrawn and potentially suicidal. Furthermore, patients have even stopped their life saving HAART therapy without consultation with their physician in an attempt to stop this side effect. The implications for viral mutations, increasing viral load and worsening of patients underlying condition requiring more expensive treatments cannot be stressed enough. Treatment of HIV-Associated Lipoatrophy with Sculptra (Poly-L-Lactic Acid) has been shown to improve anxiety and depression scores (4) as well as improve patient's quality of life as measured by visual analogue scale (5). The use of Sculptra is clearly indicated as a reconstructive procedure; that is, repair of abnormal facial structure caused by HIV or its treatment, in order to create a normal appearance.

The safety and efficacy of Sculptra in restoring the normal facial contours of patients suffering from HIV-Associated Facial Lipoatrophy has been evaluated by the US FDA (6). Based on the available scientific evidence (4,5), the FDA granted approval of Sculptra as a restorative medical device for the specific indication of HIV-Associated Facial Lipoatrophy in August 2004.

For your information. the ICD9 diagnosis code for lipodystrophy is 272.6. HIV-related lipodystrophy syndrome consists of lipo-hypertrophy (fat accumulation in the visceral area and dorsocervical pad) and lipoatrophy (subcutaneous fat loss in the face, extremities and buttocks).

Due to the medical necessity of this treatment and the availability of a safe and effective treatment option, pre-approval is hereby requested for treatment of this patient's HIV-Associated Facial Lipoatrophy with Sculptra.

As this approval is relatively recent, I would be happy to further educate your company on this issue in any way that you might deem helpful. Please feel free to contact me at the above office with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

References:

1) Montessori, V. CMAJ. 2004;170:229-238.

2) James J, Carruthers, A. Dermatol Surg. 2002;28:979-986.

3) Martinez, E. Drug Saf. 2001;24:157-166.

4) Moyle, GJ. HIV Medicine. 2004;5:82-87.

5) Valantin, M. AIDS. 2003;17:2471-2477.

6) FDA Scientific Advisory Panel 3/25/2004 Washington DC



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