You’ve probably heard it time and time again that some cosmetic procedures are covered by insurance. Yes, it’s true that a handful of treatments may cost you less in the long run if you are able to run the surgery through your insurance company, but you really need to know the ins and outs of doing this and what qualifies for coverage and/or reimbursement.

“Insurance companies are not as forgiving as they were 10 to 15 years ago. There were times that insurance would only require a letter from the surgeon requesting approval with minimal documentation,” says Torrance, CA, plastic surgeon Linda Swanson, MD. “Now, it seems that a patient needs to have a minimum of three to four months of conservative treatment for the problem to try and cure it either by a surgeon or another physician. This proof needs to be sent to the insurance company with the initial request.” Sometimes, it can take up to 45 days to hear back from the insurance company as to whether they will cover the cost of the procedure or not.

We asked five doctors to help us hash out this somewhat sticky situation.