Balding German man refused free wig

April 22, 2015

Baldness among older men is not a medical condition requiring health insurance companies to cover a toupee or wig, a German federal court ruled Wednesday, turning down a 76-year-old man's bid for false hair.

The man from the western town of Contwig, who had suffered from a lack of scalp hair as well as eyebrows and eyelashes since 1983, appealed his case against his insurance company to the Federal Social Court.

His wigs had been paid for until 2006, when the company refused to keep reimbursing him.

The judges found that the plaintiff, whose name was not released, could not claim his baldness was "disfiguring" even if he felt it made him unattractive.

"Typical male loss of scalp hair is neither an illness nor a disability... constituting the conditions for state insurance services to supply health aids," the court said in a statement.

"It does not hinder physical activity nor is it disfiguring."

The court found, however, that total hair loss among "youths or young men" that "made them stand out" could give them a claim to a subsidised wig.

The plaintiff had argued that he "suffered psychologically" from his shiny scalp and that the 's policy was discriminatory because it covered wigs for women who lost their hair due to illness.

© 2015 AFP