Does Cigna Cover Breast Reduction?

In this article...
  • Cigna covers breast reduction surgery in certain circumstances. Learn about the Cigna breast reduction eligibility requirements and who qualifies for coverage.

Breast reduction surgery is often considered by women who have large breasts that cause physical discomfort or psychological symptoms. If you need a breast reduction but can't afford out-of-pocket costs, private healthcare insurance may cover your treatment in certain circumstances. This guide explores Cigna breast reduction eligibility and what counts as a medically necessary breast reduction. 

Does Cigna Cover Breast Reduction?

Some Cigna plans cover breast reduction surgery, so you should consult your policy documents to determine whether your plan includes it. Any Cigna policy covering mastectomy must also cover reconstructive surgery, as stipulated in the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998. Therefore, your plan will likely cover a breast reduction if you need it to create a symmetrical appearance following a covered mastectomy or lumpectomy. 

When Is Breast Reduction Medically Necessary?

If your plan covers breast reduction surgery, you must meet Cigna's breast reduction eligibility guidelines to receive coverage. To qualify, your surgery must be medically necessary. You must also be at least 18 years old at the time of surgery, or your breasts must have finished growing. 

Cigna considers breast reduction surgery medically necessary to treat macromastia, a condition where the breasts are disproportionately large. Cigna only covers treatment if macromastia causes one of the following conditions and your symptoms don't respond to conservative treatment:

  • Skin conditions, such as eczema or intertrigo around the breasts
  • Ulnar nerve palsy with no other medical cause
  • Shoulder, upper back or neck pain

Furthermore, Cigna evaluates the amount of breast tissue requiring removal to determine whether a breast reduction is medically necessary. You may be eligible for coverage if the amount of breast tissue your surgeon plans to remove exceeds the 22nd percentile on the Schnur chart. This chart compares the quantity of removed breast tissue to your body surface area. Alternatively, you may qualify if your surgeon intends to remove over 1 kilogram of tissue per breast, even if you don't meet the Schnur chart requirements. 

Cigna Breast Reduction Exclusions

Cigna doesn't cover breast reduction surgery for cosmetic purposes, even if your policy covers breast reductions in general. Therefore, you won't qualify if the only reason you want a breast reduction is to improve the appearance of your breasts. 

All Cigna policies exclude breast reduction surgery if the only symptoms associated with macromastia are psychological. Cigna also excludes surgery if the only technique used is liposuction. 

Cigna Breast Reduction Requirements

You must submit medical evidence to qualify for breast reduction coverage through Cigna. This evidence should include photographs demonstrating that you have macromastia. It should also include photographic evidence of shoulder grooving from bra straps or skin irritation if your doctor cites these as a reason for performing surgery. 

Your doctor may also have to explain their rationale for recommending surgery and details of any conservative treatments you've tried to improve your condition. These may include weight loss, physical therapy, pain medications and supportive garments. 

How Much Is a Breast Reduction?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast reduction surgery without insurance is $5,913. However, this doesn't include the cost of additional services, such as anesthesia, so your total operative and post-operative expenses could be significantly higher. Private healthcare insurance may cover many of these costs if your procedure is medically necessary. 

Read More
A woman holds a prescription bottle while speaking with her pharmacist
Plastic surgery includes a range of procedures that enhance or reconstruct a person’s appearance. ...
Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn whether Medicare covers immunotherapy ...
Woman gets prepared for vaccination
Do you know your rights if you have cancer? Find out what benefits cancer patients are entitled to ...