How Much Do Wigs Cost For Cancer Patients?

Chemo hair loss patient maintaining her human hair wig | Chavie Russell Wigs

If you are experiencing hair loss or hair thinning due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, there are many options to cover up your exposed scalp. You can choose a turban or head scarf that matches your everyday outfit. However, wearing a human hair wig is the best option to achieve that natural look without giving away your current medical situation. 

You can conceal hair loss by wearing wigs, and depending on the type, length, and color you choose, you may be able to look similar to the way you looked before treatment, or you may achieve a completely new appearance. Additionally, wigs prevent the rain or sun from damaging your sensitive scalp and become fashionable protective apparel. 

In many cases, women find that wearing a wig helps them to feel normal and confident while undergoing cancer treatment. Additionally, a wig may provide privacy by preventing people from asking about your appearance or diagnosis. Wigs can be an excellent way to express your individuality. 

Are hair wigs a cost-effective solution to protect your hair? Is it worth the price considering that there are medical expenses you need to cover? These are the many questions we assume are happening inside your head right now. This article should hopefully answer these lingering questions and help you decide why wearing a wig is still the best option in your chemotherapy journey. 

What Is The Medical Term For A Wig?

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While this may sound like jargon for your taste, knowing the medical term for a wig is essential when applying for medical insurance or tax deductions, your chemotherapy doctor can provide you with a prescription, which you can show your insurance policy provider to assess if you’re covered. The term “wig” shouldn’t be present in your prescription because it usually denotes a fashion item and is not medically necessary.

There are multiple medical terms to denote a human hair wig, but all of them only pertain to a custom-made hair wig to cover up the significant side effect of some chemotherapy and irradiation therapies. 

The medical term for a wig is called hair prosthesis. The hair prosthesis (or cranial prosthesis) is a specially designed wig for people who lost their hair due to medical conditions or treatments, including alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, trichotillomania, chemotherapy, and other clinical diseases that result in loss of hair.

For those who have lost their hair due to medical reasons, cranial hair prostheses can provide a custom-made hair system. Knowing the terminology A medical wig may also be referred to as a cranial hair prosthesis, a hair prosthesis, or a full cranial prosthesis.

How Much Do Wigs Cost For Cancer Patients?

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The cost of wigs for cancer patients depends on the type of wig you want. Whether you want one made of synthetic fibers, human hair or a combination of both is up to you. Women most often choose synthetic wigs. While they may be easy to maintain and more affordable ($30 to $500), they don’t last long, and you can’t style them as you wish.

The cost of a wig made of natural human hair could range from $800 to $3000 or more and requires a more meticulous maintenance routine, but it is well worth its price due to its longevity and the ability to style it however you wish. 

Choosing a wig of the highest quality that looks as natural as possible is essential. For a wig to appear realistic, it must have a lace front and a monofilament top or part. Lace front wigs create the appearance of a natural hairline by individually tying hair to a sheer material in the front. Wigs with monofilament tops or parts have a realistic look because they tie or sew the hair into the top portion of a fine, sheer cap.

Does Insurance Cover Wigs For Cancer Patients?

Woman trying out a Chavie Human Hair Wig | Chavie Russell Wigs

Whether you are experiencing temporary or permanent hair loss, many insurance companies cover wig costs for cancer patients. These insurance companies cover wigs when needed because of medical conditions such as alopecia, chemotherapy, or other hair loss causes. You can file a claim for your cranial prosthesis's full or partial cost.

A prescription from your doctor may allow your health insurance provider to cover the cost of the wig. Wigs, after all, are just as important as nausea medication as remedies for side effects of treatment.  Contact your insurance company before you purchase a wig and ask if they cover cranial prostheses related to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Ask about the maximum cost, how to submit your claim (including what information your doctor needs to provide in your prescription), and reimbursement details.

You can get your full cranial prosthesis covered by your insurance company up to 80-100%. The doctor can also prescribe a single cranial prosthesis yearly to a person suffering from medical hair loss. Tax deductions may also be available for prosthesis expenses. 

The wig is tax deductible; however, if medical expenses exceed 7.5% of an individual's income, you may need legal advice. 

Default policies do not cover wigs due to the Standard List of Exclusions. In any case, your employer's human resources department can renegotiate your contract to cover cranial prostheses. Alternatively, you can contact your insurance broker if you have secondary insurance.

Types of Hair Loss Covered By Insurance

  • Hair Due to Chemotherapy
  • Kidney Related Hair loss
  • Hair Loss Caused by Cancer
  • Alopecia
  • Radiation Related Hair Loss
  • Hair Loss Due to Thyroid Problems
  • Medical Hair Loss Due to Life and Environmental Changes, Thinning and Balding, Genetics, Stress, Aging, Reaction to Medical Illness

How Do You Get A Wig Prescribed?

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Most wigs require upfront payment, followed by insurance reimbursement after a claim is submitted.

For an insurance claim, you'll usually have to provide a doctor's prescription for a cranial prosthesis or hair prosthesis (with the cancer diagnosis code), the receipt for wigs (with the wig company's tax identification number), and a complete insurance claim form. Some wig providers and hospital centers will handle your insurance claims and won't require you to pay upfront.

What To Do If Your Insurance Won't Cover Your Wig?

You can have two options if your insurance won’t cover your wig. Not all hope is lost when reducing the cost of your hair wigs. 

The first option is to save the receipt if you pay for your wig out of pocket just in case it qualifies for a tax deduction. The wig will become tax deductible if the person's medical bills exceed 7.5% of their income.

The second option is to find out what local resources are available through your doctor or social worker. Learn about financial assistance available through the American Cancer Society, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), and other foundations. More often than not, they can point you in the right direction and endorse you to non-profit organizations that offer free wigs or can act as benefactors to cover the wig cost. 

Cancer can be a complex illness, but it doesn’t have to be all suffering and sadness, as we all have a fighting chance against the disease. Chavie Russell Wigs has a wide selection of European human hair and other types of wigs that suit your needs and help you get in touch with your inner and outer beauty. Get in touch with us today to set up your free, no-obligation, confidential consultation.