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When Mental Doesn’t Equal Medical

July 8, 2022

Friday Feeling, Alopecia, Insurance Denial, Motivation

Baldie

Just when a bald woman was really getting excited about having brown locks by the time her first-born son gets married, she receives a special note from Excellus Blue Cross, Blue Shield saying:

“You have asked for Olumiant because you have a diagnosis of alopecia universalis (full and complete loss of hair). According to our policy, the use of Olumiant for the treatment of alopecia universalis is considered COSMETIC as defined as used to IMPROVE a patient’s appearance and/or self-esteem. The use of the drug, whether approved or not by the FDA, for a cosmetic use is considered not MEDICALLY necessary.”

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Women TIES Retreat Speaker n- 2018 Speaking Gig

If you could see the cartoon bubble above my shining bare-naked head that once confidently led me in front of thousands of women to speak, you’d see that sometimes medically and MENTALLY necessary are one in the same.

If you read the blog post just prior to this one, you’d see without hair, I am reluctant to go to my 40th High School Reunion, and literally sweated from my exposed brow last weekend at my husband’s associates outdoor wedding because I couldn’t find an appropriate hat to wear to the formal affair. I’m not sure the bride and groom wanted a bald chick at their fancy wedding.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Bald Biker of Syracuse

As one person said, “When will the insurance companies and health institutions realized medical and mental go together?” Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, like so many people I worry about, look at me as a cosmetic, shallow human being with only the image of Hollywood to guide me in my personal life. I don’t want to grow my hair back for cosmetic reasons but for holistic ones where I feel normal again and my future grandkids don’t have to call me “Grandma Baldie.”

Youngest son’s engagement – July 1, 2022

Is it a shame to want to have hair for both of my son’s weddings? How about a shame to want to be able to inspire thousands of more women at a podium again like I’ve done for 25 years because my self-image has been wrecked by the loss of hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Come on, insurance companies, are you that insensitive and dumb? If you, the person typing the letter that came to me, or the medical doctor who came up with the paragraph, lost every single strand of hair from their body, which made you step away from your career and parts of your life, would you write the same words?

Hey Excellus, you can step in my shoes any day because my hairy toes aren’t in them anymore. You can eat at my dining table knowing you won’t find any hair in your spaghetti. You can ride with me bald every day for 15 miles to see me find happiness because no one cares when a bald person bikes.

Treat people with life-altering, not life-threatening illnesses, the same. We deserve the coverage and hope to return to our former 100% healthy and mental ways of life.

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