Monday, January 05, 2009

Hair Transplant Insurance

I have long resolved that there is nothing I can do to stop the loss of hair follicles, but some folks are willing to invest thousands of dollars in an attempt to look youthful. They pay someone to transplant hair from the back of their head to the front & top.

For sure, this is not medically necessary. I mean, you don't really NEED hair. It is just something to tease, style, color, cut and maintain.

Perhaps that is why hair transplants are not covered by health insurance.

But some folks think, and I know I will catch heat over this, that insurance should pay for testing and even treatment, just because you want to have a baby.

I am not one of those in favor of covering any fertility testing under an insurance policy but there are some in the Show Me state who want to make it a law.

one Missouri legislator is proposing a bill that would require health insurance companies to pay for infertility diagnosis and treatments.

"We spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to assist people, even in terminal situations with cancer, with a lot of different things," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Steve Hodges, D-East Prairie.

So the logic behind this is, we spend all this money on terminal cancer patients, why not spend a few more to make babies.

OK, why not make it a zero sum game?

You can have fertility testing covered but we no longer cover treatment for terminal cancer patients. Anyone want to buy into that deal?

Seriously, there are only so many dollars to go around. For certain, you can pass laws requiring carriers to cover everything from removing splinters to brain transplants. The question is, do you really want that?

Every time something new is added the cost goes up for everyone.

But what about this bill?

This is not a proposal to cover the cost of IVF (in vitro fertilization), but rather a bill requiring carriers to cover testing of males to see if the reason why they cannot impregnate someone is because of low sperm count.

I am dead serious.

"Men that have concerns about their fertility don't always know where to turn," said Erma Drobnis, an andrologist at Columbia Regional Hospital. "And actually having a semen analysis at a fertility clinic is very simple, very noninvasive and not terribly expensive."

I have been out of the game for some time, and never had a problem siring children. But if the cost of a "semen analysis" is reasonably low, why do we need insurance to cover the cost?

So what causes a low sperm count?

Obesity, smoking and alcohol use can lower sperm counts. Researchers suspect the quality of drinking water as well.

"There was no relationship determined between (sperm counts) and actual pesticides in the water they were drinking because there was no study of even where they drank the water," Carlson said. "It was just a general statement that certain areas of the country, the Midwest, where there was more agricultural work going on, that there was more pesticides used, and therefore, it would be logical that some of that pesticide could be getting into drinking water."

So now for some good news.

No bills have been prefiled that deal with water quality in general or water as a root cause of infertility.

Now, about those hair transplants . . .
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