Tattoo removal at checkout costs due to traumas suffered
If a woman forced to prostitute and traumatized had the initials of her pimps tattooed on her neck, she can later be reimbursed for the cost of removing the tattoo from the health insurance. This applies at least if the tattoo has a disfiguring effect or the therapeutic success of the psychological ailments is otherwise endangered, the social court Düsseldorf decided in a judgment published on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 (file number: S 27 KR 717/16).
In the specific case, the plaintiff was forced to prostitute by two men. The pimps had their initials tattooed on the woman's neck to indicate their connection with her. The woman's martyrdom lasted two and a half years until the police released her.
Since then she has suffered from moderate depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A psychologist and doctors from a psychosomatic clinic assumed a good healing prognosis, but the tattoo on the neck had to be removed for this. The tattoo keeps reminding the woman of the trauma suffered during the forced prostitution. Flashbacks are the result.
The woman therefore asked her health insurance company to cover the costs of the tattoo removal. She presented an estimate that 20 sessions at a price of 2,690 euros might be necessary.
However, the health insurance company declined. The tattoo itself is not a disease. Health insurance companies would only have to take responsibility for measures that directly involved an illness. In addition, the woman can get her trauma under control with psychotherapy and psychiatric treatments.
However, the health insurance company is exceptionally obliged to assume the costs, according to the Social Court in its judgment of January 26, 2017. According to the case law of the Federal Social Court, there is an illness if the insured person's physical functions are impaired or if the anatomical deviation has a disfiguring effect. Both are the case here.
The tattoo, which is located on almost the entire right side of the neck and is forcibly pierced, has a disfiguring effect. The plaintiff is not only repeatedly asked that she can be identified in the "scene" for people who know her from forced prostitution.
The tattoo also leads to an impairment of body functions. It intensifies the existing psychological suffering and keeps reminding the traumas that have been suffered. The success prognosis of the therapy depends on the removal of the tattoo. The health insurance company must therefore reimburse the costs. fle