Cancer patient claims insurance company won’t cover cost of wig

Wigs of real hair can be expensive.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman with lung cancer says her insurance won’t pay for her wig. She asked 22News that we keep her identity private because she doesn’t want anyone to know she has cancer. That’s why she said she wants a wig. She’s a letter carrier. The woman said when she called her insurance company, CIGNA, she said they denied coverage of a hair wig because they’re not based in Massachusetts and they didn’t deem it “necessary.”

22News contacted CIGNA and is still waiting to hear back from them about this. We asked breast cancer patient advocate group Rays of Hope, which collaborates with Baystate Health, what people should do in this situation.

“My suggestion would be…you have to be your own advocate. I would suggest calling the insurance company and getting assertive,” said Michelle Shattuck, chairwoman of Rays of Hope. A two-time breast cancer survivor, Shattuck said her insurance did cover the cost of her wig.

She recommends people try contacting Rays of Hope (413-794-8001), Pink Petal Boutique in South Hadley or Cancer Connection in Northampton for help. She said you can also talk with a hair stylist about which type of wig would look best for you.

According to breastcancer.org, wigs of real hair can cost upwards of $3,000. Synthetic wigs are much less, ranging from about $30 to $200. Shattuck said some organizations do offer free, donated wigs, especially from cancer survivors who no longer need them, and know how important they are to self-confidence.

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