Notice To Patients with Private Health Insurance – April 2018

BUPA Australia & HBF Announcement

The current publicity surrounding the announcements by both BUPA Australia and HBF regarding the (potential) exclusions from your policy for the following categories of surgery: Hip and knee replacements, cataracts, pregnancy and IVF treatment, obesity and “some” plastic surgery has caused an outcry from patients, doctors, hospitals and the minister for health.

Initially, BUPA announced this was for everyone, but this was subsequently revised to include all policyholders with levels of cover except their “top table cover” policies. HBF has followed suit.

In addition, BUPA further announced that your policy would only be covered if your surgery was performed in a hospital nominated by them. This means that if your surgeon does not work in one of BUPA’s nominated hospitals, then you would either need to find a different surgeon or have your surgery but not be covered by BUPA.

This is an unacceptable situation, and hopefully, these decisions will be reversed. However, it does appear that the Australian Private Health Insurers are attempting to reduce what they pay out for, while at the same time, increasing their premiums. Dr Goldman believes that this is inevitable.

Dr Goldman’s recommendations are:

  1. Make sure you have “top cover”. Whatever health insurance fund you are with, unless you have “top cover” you will not receive benefits or will receive reduced benefits. In other words, either you will not be able to claim at all, or if you can, the amount you will receive back from your health fund will be very reduced.
  2. Change from BUPA to another health fund. If you are a fully paid-up member of 1 fund, you will be able to change to the same level of cover with another fund WITHOUT a waiting period. YOU MUST CHECK THIS WITH THE NEW FUND. BUPA is, without doubt, the most frustrating and challenging health fund to deal with and always attempt to pay out the minimum.
  3. Assume that your surgery may not be claimable on you private health policy if you do not have top cover. In this situation, you will need to pay for the surgery, anaesthetic and hospital costs in full up front and then claim afterwards. If you do get anything back from your private health insurance as well, this is a bonus.

This information is Dr Goldman’s opinion and advice based on the recent publicity and trends within the private health industry as well as his practice’s dealing with private health funds over the years.

How a Tummy Tuck May Be an Answer to Chronic Back Pain

If you’ve long been a sufferer of back pain, then you’re fully aware of the adverse effect it can have on your everyday life.

Reduced mobility and near constant pain can make even the most trivial of tasks a chore. Long-term medication use means recurring trips to the doctor and pharmacy and potentially living life through a haze. An inability to rest or sleep makes you sluggish and unresponsive at times when you should or need to be at your most alert.

Irritability and lost capacity to handle stress have put a strain on not just you, but your relationships. These are just a few of the daily challenges you might face. As time goes on, with little in the way of relief, these and other side effects of your back pain are only going to increase.

The prospect of continued misery can be overwhelming. What if there was a way to ease the constant suffering and never-ending doses of ineffective medicines? What if that remedy was a commonly performed procedure better known for its cosmetic benefits instead of medical advantages?

What if that procedure was a tummy tuck?

An Internal Back Brace

Abdominoplasty surgery, better known as a tummy tuck, has long been used to remove excess skin and fat from a patient’s abdomen. The operation also helps to reestablish weak or separated muscles caused by pregnancy, aging, and other factors.

The procedure is predominately used to repair the abdominal wall in women who were once pregnant, often as part of so-called “mommy makeovers.” The surgery is frequently cited as a confidence booster from the improved physical appearance of the patient’s mid-section.

Picture showing young woman waking up in the morning with pain

Other individuals that have benefited from the surgery include people who’ve experienced significant weight loss or have had previous surgery. Aging and heredity factors, though less common, can also weaken muscles and draw patients to the tummy tuck procedure.

What is often lesser known is that, in tightening the connective tissues in and around your abdomen, your spine becomes more stable. This effectively tightens your core and helps to correct poor posture and solidify your upper body.

Can a Tummy Tuck Really Improve Back Pain?

A study done in 2011 cites that the abdominal procedure can be effective at reducing back pain. The study followed eight female patients with chronic lower back pain and loose abdominal muscle tissue. After undergoing the tummy tuck procedure, each one reported immediate improvement of their back pain.

A more recent study of 208 female patients, completed in Australia in 2016, showed a significant number of female patients experienced reduced pain in their backs and considerable improvement in urinary incontinence.

Although both studies represent a small sample, they do give real hope to long time back pain sufferers that alternatives do exist. It is important though to understand who can benefit most by having this procedure.

Not All Back Pain is Created Equal

There are many different types of back pain. A tummy tuck and the tightening of your core is not a guaranteed method in curing all forms.

Nerve problems, disc complication, or even more severe spinal damage, will be unaffected by the abdominal surgery with pain potentially increasing. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with your physician to fully determine the source of pain.

More traditional methods, including ones that do not involve surgery, may be available to better treat your back.

More Than Just Pain Relief

Tummy Tucks

 

Tummy Tucks are quickly becoming a popular cosmetic procedure in Australia.

Even with its growing popularity, a tummy tuck is still an invasive surgery that may not be for everyone. It is understandable though, if you can no longer bear the daily stresses that come with your chronic back pain, to seek an alternative.

If, after extensive consultation with a specialist and a cosmetic surgeon, it’s determined you are a viable candidate for surgery, a tummy tuck could potentially be your solution to a pain-free life.