The National Rosacea Society survey revealed only 3% of patients had coverage for laser treatments.
In a survey by the National Rosacea Society (NRS), most respondents reported that prescription medication to treat rosacea was covered by their health insurance but laser treatments were not.1 The survey of 560 patients with rosacea revealed that patients are frustrated with insurance for the lack of laser treatment coverage.
Of the 97% of respondents with some kind of health insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid, 71% said their insurance covers some or all of their prescription costs for oral or topical medications. However, only 3% have coverage for procedures such as laser or other light-based therapy to remove visible blood vessels and treat rosacea because insurance companies often consider those to be cosmetic treatments.
One respondent said in survey comments, “I have used IPL [intense pulsed light] for both facial and ocular rosacea. Though very expensive, the treatments have been effective enough to continue paying out of pocket. However, being on a fixed income at age 70, some help from insurance would be appreciated.”
A lack of health insurance or the high cost of a copay caused 52% of respondents to avoid obtaining medical care for their rosacea at some point, and 66% said they have paid out-of-pocket for prescription medication. Out-of-pocket expenses were under $100 for 28% of patients, between $100 and $500 for 36% of patients, between $500 and $1000 for 12%, and over $1000 for 13% of respondents.
Although some patients do pay out-of-pocket for treatments, respondents felt like more needs to be done to encourage insurance companies to cover laser treatment costs. “Four dermatologists have told me the most effective treatment is laser therapy,” said a respondent in the survey. “This country has to do better to push insurance companies to cover laser treatment.”
Coverage can vary widely between insurance plans, and doctors encourage patients to check with their plans to understand specific coverages. With more medications available to treat rosacea than ever before, patients can work with their providers to find the best option for them.