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Medicare Pays Millions for Eyelid Lifts

Eye Associates of Fort Myers, Naples
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The number of eyelid lifts charged to Medicare tripled over a decade, even though the federal health-care program is not supposed to pay for cosmetic surgery, the Center for Public Integrity reports.

More than half of the procedures, called blepharoplasty, were billed from Florida, the center reports. One South Florida surgeon billed Medicare for 2,200 eyelifts in 2008 and was paid $800,000, according to an analysis of payment records.

Surgeons may  be getting around the proscription on coverage for cosmetic surgery by saying that  patients' sagging eyelids significantly hinder their vision.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.