Fighting for Affordable Wigs to those who Medically need them

Fighting for Affordable Wigs to those who Medically need them

If you've turned to wigs because of a variety of health issues such as cancer treatments, alopecia, and other hair loss related issues we're sure you've experienced the shock that comes with finding out just how much a wig costs. Sure you can find cheap wigs online but a quality wig that looks real is going to cost you a very pretty penny. If you're at all familiar with the medical system in the United States we're sure you're aware that getting your insurance to cover this is a headache in itself.

But here comes Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Congressman Jim McGovern and Senator Richard Blumenthal have come together to champion the rights and needs of individuals experiencing medical hair loss. They've collectively introduced the "Medicare Wigs Act". This proposed legislation aims to acknowledge and address the implications associated with medical hair loss.

Medical hair loss, affecting millions across the United States, can stem from a variety of health issues, including cancer treatments, alopecia, and other medical conditions. The emotional toll of hair loss is often overlooked, despite being a reality for many Americans. The "Medicare Wigs Act" seeks to rectify this oversight by extending the Medicare coverage to include wigs for individuals grappling with medical hair loss. It's a declaration that psychological well-being is as important as physical health.

Alopecia Wig

Model with Alopecia l SELF

This act recognizes that wigs are not mere cosmetic accessories. Instead, they are essential medical appliances that help restore self-esteem and mental well-being in those affected by medical hair loss. The exclusion of wigs from Medicare coverage to date has inadvertently reinforced the stigma associated with hair loss and its adverse psychological impacts.

Many private insurance plans cover wigs for those undergoing treatments that cause hair loss or who are affected by alopecia areata. This bill would allow cranial prosthetics (wigs) to be covered under the Medicare program.

“Whether someone is living with Alopecia, battling cancer, or suffering from other forms of traumatic hair loss, the option to wear a wig should be affordable and accessible,” said Rep. Pressley. “As someone living with Alopecia, I know the mental and emotional toll it can take on our everyday lives, and relieving the financial burden of accessing medical wigs is an important step towards creating space for those impacted by medical hair loss. This bill is responsive to those needs, and I am proud to reintroduce this bill with my friend Congressman McGovern. Everyone deserves dignity and access.”

“For people impacted by Alopecia or undergoing cancer treatment, a wig can make all the difference in the world. It can provide them with the confidence and courage they need to get back to normal during a challenging time,” said Rep. McGovern. “But wigs can cost thousands of dollars, and despite the enormous and clear benefits they provide, Medicare doesn’t currently cover them. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and I think that needs to change. Bottom line, this bill is about making sure everyone can live their lives with dignity and confidence, regardless of their diagnosis. We’re reintroducing this bill to ensure that folks who are impacted by hair loss have access to the treatment options they need.”

“Medicare recipients struggling with hair loss shouldn’t have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to look and feel their best,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Our measure expands coverage to ensure wigs are accessible and affordable for all patients dealing with cancer, alopecia, or other medical conditions – giving them the self-assurance and comfort they deserve.”

For both Pressley and McGovern, the issue is deeply personal. In 2019, Rep. Pressley revealed in a powerful video that she had been diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, an auto-immune disease which attacks the hair follicles. Since then, she has championed policies in Congress that support and express solidarity with the nearly 7 million Americans living with alopecia. In a 2021 interview with Vanity Fair, McGovern revealed that his thinking on this issue has been impacted by a cancer diagnosis in his own family.

Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune skin disorder with no identified cause or cure, affects an estimated 6.9 million Americans. The condition predominantly impacts children and Black Americans, with Black women being particularly susceptible. Given the limited effective treatment strategies available, many individuals living with Alopecia Areata resort to wearing wigs. Wigs, however, can be pricy as they often range from $100 to several thousands of dollars.

We applaud the congress people trying to make wigs more accessible for everyone!


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