There is a broad range of options and procedures available to individuals in Australia but any medical procedure is a serious undertaking.
The difference between plastic surgery & cosmetic surgery
This is important because some health insurers MAY provide full cover for all costs associated with your hospital admission for reconstructive plastic surgery but not for cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are closely aligned in required technique and skill. Plastic surgery is the reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease and includes cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic Surgery is requested by the patient and is thus a matter of personal choice aimed at enhancing and improving the patient’s appearance.
Financing your cosmetic surgery
Access Superannuation for Plastic Surgery
Can I access Superannuation funds early to pay for Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery? Yes, you can.
SuperCare assists with the application process to fund among other things, Cosmetic Surgery via the Early Release of Superannuation. Based on the Australian Government Initiative, you can access your superannuation fund early to cover the costs of cosmetic and plastic surgery.
SuperCare can facilitate your application for funding with many surgery procedures including reconstructive surgery to correct or repair defects and deformities following trauma, skin cancer, accidents, excision, burns, and scars. Plastic surgery is directed and indicated by the surgeon.
Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are closely interwoven in technique and skill. Cosmetic Surgery is aimed at enhancing and improving the patient’s appearance. The best cosmetic surgery should be undetectable by others and should provide an increased sense of wellbeing and confidence in the patient.
Cosmetic surgery is unlike other surgery in that it is requested by the patient and as such is a matter of personal choice.
Surgeries may include:
- Breast surgery: breast augmentation, breast lift (mastopexy), breast reduction, and breast revision
- Facial surgery: eyelid rejuvenation, prominent ear correction (octoplasty), rhinoplasty, and nose reshaping
- Body contouring surgery: liposculpture/liposuction, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), belt lipectomy, thigh lift/reduction, arm lift/reduction (brachioplasty) and male breast reduction (gynaecomastia).
Please contact SuperCare before taking your first steps at www.mysupercare.com.au/.
Private Health Insurance
Health funds are under more pressure to pay out fewer rebates on cosmetic and plastic surgeries and to charge higher fees; Medicare does not cover most cosmetic surgery procedures.
Those individuals who carry costly health insurance are shocked to find that they are only covered if the surgery is medically necessary to maintain your health. Medically necessary procedures such as these may be covered:
- Breast prostheses implants after breast cancer
- Breast cancer removal surgery
- Skin grafts
- Liposuction in the case of obesity or morbid obesity
Elective cosmetic surgeries such as these may not be covered or may not be fully covered:
- Rhinoplasty (a nose job),
- Breast augmentation or reduction
- Liposuction in non-medically necessary cases
There are different types of cover that offer different benefits. Check with your health fund to be sure of exactly what you are covered for.
Superannuation Early Access
In most cases, Australians cannot unlock their Super until they reach “preservation age” which is between 55 and 60, depending on birth date.
There is, however, a particular government process to follow to access their Superannuation Funds to pay for their life-changing surgery. The Department of Human Services (DHS) can allow early access on “compassionate grounds.”
The SIS Regulations 1994, Reg 6.19A allow advanced release of superannuation on compassionate grounds where:
- Finance is required to pay for medical treatment for the individual
- Based on the certification of two medical practitioners, the medical treatment is necessary to treat a life-threatening illness or injury; or to alleviate acute, or chronic, pain; or alleviate an acute, or chronic, mental disturbance
- The treatment is not readily available to the individual through the public health system
- The individual does not have the financial capacity to meet the expense of the treatment
This is often a drawn-out and arduous process for the regular individual with substantial amounts of paperwork and correspondence required.
Australian-based SuperCare provides specialist assistance to individuals and their families by facilitating their application to the DHS, who can provide an approval letter to release funds from your superannuation.
Why finance here in Australia and not overseas
Some Australians opt to go abroad where cosmetic procedures are cheaper, exposing themselves to some serious surgery risks. Procedures in other countries may not be as hygienic or safe, seek professional advice to understand the risks involved before you go overseas for major surgery.
*Disclaimer: Information about finance on our website is for general information purposes only. Before acting on finance for your surgery, consider its appropriateness to your individual situation. The information on this website is no substitute for financial advice.
Dr Robert Goldman is a registered and participating doctor with SuperCare. Want to know more about your options for financing your cosmetic surgery? Book a consultation with Dr Goldman to discuss the financing options available to you.