House, Senate bills would require insurance companies to cover wigs for kids in Michigan

Posted at 8:49 AM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 17:32:34-04

Michigan Democrats take up the fight to make insurers foot the bill for wigs for kids.

House and Senate Democrats Tuesday introduced legislation that would require insurance companies and Medicaid to cover wigs for children who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or treatments. Currently, the state of Michigan does not cover the cost of wigs for kids. The House and Senate bills are identical and if passed, would require insurance companies to treat hair pieces and wigs like any other prosthesis.

State Reps. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) and Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), along with state Sens. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) and Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) are the sponsors of the bills which has the support of the founder of Wigs 4 Kids Michigan. Wigs can be expensive with prices ranging from the hundreds into the thousands of dollars according to Hoadley.

Lawmakers say kids who suffer from conditions that cause hair loss are often victims of bullying or suffer from depression. “A wig can make all the difference in the world in a child’s outlook and attitude, but the cost can be prohibitive for many families. That’s why in these cases it’s just common sense to have insurance coverage for wigs for kids” said Bieda.

The legislation would mandate that insurers provide coverage for human or synthetic hair replacements to children under the age of 19 who have experienced hair loss as the result of a medical condition or the treatment of a medical condition. The bill also mandates that insurance coverage for wigs cannot be less than coverage offered for any other prosthesis. A number of organizations in Michigan provide wigs, hair care products and other support free of charge to thousands of children every year suffering from hair loss, but these organizations still have to cover the costs of the wigs and products they provide.

“My group and others like it can’t keep up with the need, and unfortunately, we can’t reach all of the kids in Michigan who need wigs,” said Varney. “This legislation will ensure that more children can have the wigs they need to help them feel better about themselves.”