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Q: Will my insurance cover cosmetic surgery?

Almost always no, as health insurance is designed to help you with unexpected treatment costs.

Cosmetic surgery is used to change a person’s appearance. Health insurers class this as a ‘lifestyle’ surgery and would not normally cover the costs. However, if a cosmetic or reconstructive surgery is required for medical reasons, some providers may provide cover – talk to our team about finding a policy that’s best for you.

Cosmetic surgery vs. reconstructive plastic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is different to reconstructive plastic surgery, which is a type of surgery used to repair damaged tissue following injury, illness or birth defect.

Most health insurance policies would cover the costs of reconstructive surgery.

For example, a reconstructive breast surgery following a mastectomy could be covered, or a cleft lip repair.

Can I get my cosmetic surgery on the NHS instead?

Very rarely – there must be valid and serious medical, physical or psychological reasons for needing the surgery. Should a clinical commissioning group or CCG allow the surgery to go ahead, many patients experience very long waiting times due to limited NHS resources, which is why the majority of people choose private care.

Some surgical procedures the NHS may pay for include:

  • Breast implants or reductions if there is severe psychological distress or physical problems
  • Nose reshaping if there are breathing difficulties
  • A tummy tuck for excess skin after weight loss surgery or pregnancy

What is/isn’t covered?

Are nose jobs covered by health insurance?

If you have an issue that is disruption your breathing, most health insurance providers would cover a septoplasty (the straightening of your nasal septum).

However, any surgical changes to your nose for aesthetic reasons would not be covered – for example rhinoplasty is usually something you’d have to pay for yourself.

Are ‘boob jobs’ or breast reductions covered by health insurance?

This is a tricky one, as insurance companies would require a valid medical reason for the surgery. So if the size of the breast was causing severe back, neck or shoulder pains, this may be covered.

Are weight loss surgeries covered by health insurance?

Not normally, except under very specific circumstances, and you will likely need to provide evidence from your GP as to why you need surgery. Your insurance providers may want to know that you’ve tried alternate weight loss methods first – like a supervised diet and exercise, before they would cover procedures like liposuction or a ‘tummy tuck’. 


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