You’ve spent the last few years diligently transforming your body through nutrition and exercise and now feel there is another hurdle to get through – your excess skin. For many individuals, excess skin can wreak havoc on both their mental health and way of life through discomfort and skin infections. Now that you’ve decided to undergo surgery, is it best to take out a new private health insurance policy that covers skin removal or apply for early release of super?
Private health insurance vs early release of super
There are 4 key eligibility criteria for the use of private health insurance and medicare for post-weight loss plastic surgery such as tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift, lower body lift, breast reduction/breast lift.
In order to qualify for Medicare and private health fund rebates, you need to fulfill four key criteria.
Criteria #1 – Weightloss of 5 BMI points or more
You need to lose at least five BMI points and for an average person, you’ll need to lose at least 15 kilograms. Keep in mind that your weight during pregnancy cannot be included in weight loss.
Criteria #2 – 6 Months of stable weight
You need to demonstrate that you have been able to maintain this weight loss by keeping a stable weight for at least 6 months.
Criteria #3 – Skin conditions
You need to have skin conditions such as rashes or chaffing, which have been treated for a minimum of 3 months using nonsurgical methods like cream and showing minimal improvement.
Criteria #4 – Interference with activities of daily living
You can demonstrate that all this excess skin from weight loss has been affecting your activities every day including exercising.
If you meet all these criteria and would like to see a specialist plastic surgeon, make sure that you see your GP for a referral that outlines how you meet these four criteria. Demonstrating these criteria is especially important if you wish to use your private health insurance. You should also make sure that your level of private health cover falls within the gold tier category.
What if I have not lost weight but have had children?
Unfortunately, Medicare and Private Health Insurance currently DO NOT provide cover for postpartum or after pregnancy muscle separation without any weight loss. If the above criteria are not met then tummy tuck surgery and other body contouring surgery is considered cosmetic.
Also, read out skin removal surgery packages
So what about the early release of super?
Fortunately, in Australia, you may be eligible for compassionate release of super to pay for necessary medical treatment or medical transport expenses for you or your dependant.
Medical treatment – There are two conditions to meet to be eligible:
The Australian government considers surgery or medical treatment as an acceptable category for early release of super as long as it restores health, cures an illness, disease, or other medical condition.
To be eligible you need to meet two key conditions
- Condition 1 – you or your dependant must require medical treatment:
- Condition 2 – the medical treatment you or your dependant need is not readily available through the public health system.
Pros and cons of private health insurance vs early release of super
Con: Private Health insurance doesn’t cover skin removal from pregnancy
Private health insurance only covers skin removal from pregnancy if it involves significant weight loss (not including the weight from the pregnancy itself).
Con: Medicare and Private health insurance only cover a portion of popular skin removal surgeries such as abdominoplasty surgery
With the average abdominoplasty in Australia costing between $9,000 and $29,000, this can be a significant problem if you hope to have the treatment wholly covered. In addition to the premiums, you are paying to be eligible.
Con: Skin removal in many cases does not include deep muscle repair or necessary liposuction
Generally speaking, individuals who have had extreme weight loss will also require muscle repair and excess fat removal to achieve the correct result. Skin removal surgery alone rarely includes muscle repair or excess fat removal without added costs associated. At Azurite, our tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery always covers muscle repair and liposuction at no extra cost as we are results-focused.
Con: Surgery domestically does not include a post-recovery service without an additional cost
Although the idea of being domestic on paper appears attractive for many individuals, many forget to take into account the post-surgery recovery process. At Azurite, all surgery prices as a part of our packages include a post-surgery recovery team to take care of you for two weeks.
Con: Having surgery domestically does not allow you to take out our overseas medical insurance
This one is one that many clients don’t consider. If you undergo surgery with Azurite, you can take out a very comprehensive medical insurance policy that covers you up to six months post-surgery for everything, including accommodation and any issues that may arise domestically in your home country, such as Australia.
In all, both private insurance and early release of super will allow you to remove excess skin. However, you must meet several criteria to be eligible for private health insurance, which can be a timely process. In addition, private health insurance will cover you for only a portion of the surgery expense and rarely covers the additional costs of deep muscle repair and liposuction, which in many cases is needed to achieve the correct result.
But if you choose to use superannuation, all you need is a simple referral from your local GP and to use a specialist board-certified surgeon such as our surgeons at Azurite. Azurite is an approved ATO provider and can have you approved within the hour to pay for the surgery. And finally, don’t forget the cost, our surgery packages always include deep muscle repair, liposuction, accommodation, onsite recovery support, and the ability to bring a companion for free at the fraction of the cost domestically.