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Cosmetic surgery is a type of elective surgery that is performed to enhance a person’s appearance. The cost of these procedures can be prohibitive for some individuals as they tend to cost thousands of pounds. 

A survey conducted by the private healthcare provider Bupa in 2018 found that only 7% of people in the UK have health insurance that covers cosmetic surgery. The same survey also revealed that cost was the primary reason why people chose not to undergo cosmetic surgery, with 69% of respondents citing cost as a major concern. This article aims to explain whether insurance can cover cosmetic surgery, as well as how you can get it on the NHS.

Which health insurance covers cosmetic surgery in the UK?

Generally, health insurance policies in the UK do not cover cosmetic surgery, as it is considered an elective procedure rather than a medically necessary one. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and it’s important to check your policy details carefully.

What are the exceptions to this rule?

Some policies may cover cosmetic surgery if it is deemed medically necessary, such as in cases of reconstructive surgery following an accident or injury. Another common exception is breast reduction surgery to alleviate back pain. The thing that sets these examples apart is that they are not solely cosmetic but rather improve the patient’s quality of life in the long run.

What types of cosmetic surgery are typically not covered by health insurance?

Procedures that are purely cosmetic in nature, such as breast augmentation, facelifts, and liposuction, are typically not covered by health insurance.

How can I find out if my health insurance covers cosmetic surgery?

You should review your policy documents carefully or contact your insurance provider directly to find out if your policy covers cosmetic surgery. Although most health insurance will not pay for your cosmetic procedures, some do. It can be worth checking just in case.

Can I purchase additional coverage to cover cosmetic surgery?

Yes, Some insurance providers may offer optional add-ons to cover cosmetic surgery. However, keep in mind that some of these policies may come with higher premiums or deductibles.

Are there any other options for financing cosmetic surgery?

Yes, some clinics may offer financing options or payment plans to help patients cover the cost of cosmetic surgery. Additionally, some patients choose to pay for cosmetic surgery out of pocket or through a personal loan.

Can I get cosmetic surgery on the NHS?

Not usually, no. Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered by the NHS except in cases where it is deemed medically necessary.

Are there any alternative treatments to cosmetic surgery that may be covered by health insurance?

Yes, some non-surgical treatments may be covered by health insurance, such as:

  • Certain types of laser treatments for skin conditions 
  • Injectable treatments for medical conditions like migraines or bruxism

What is the average cost of cosmetic surgery in the UK?

The cost of cosmetic surgery in the UK can vary widely depending on the procedure, the surgeon, and the location. Generally, the cost can range from a few hundred pounds for very minor procedures to tens of thousands of pounds for more complex surgeries. 

Is it safe to travel abroad for cosmetic surgery to save money?

While it may be tempting to travel abroad for cheaper cosmetic surgery, there are many risks and drawbacks to keep in mind. Standards of care may vary in different countries, and there may be language barriers or cultural differences to navigate. You should also consider the potential cost of any complications, revisions, or follow-up care that may be needed after returning home.

What should I look for in a qualified cosmetic surgeon?

When choosing a cosmetic surgeon, it is important to look for someone who is board-certified and has extensive experience performing the procedure you’re interested in. You should also ask to see before-and-after photos of their previous patients and read reviews from other patients. Finally, you should consider your gut instinct. If you feel like your surgeon is trying to pressure you into more surgeries or enforcing their aesthetic vision on you, this is a bad sign.

Can cosmetic surgery improve my health in addition to my appearance?

In some cases yes, cosmetic surgery can improve a person’s physical health as well as their appearance. For example, weight loss surgery can help reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems, and breast reduction surgery can alleviate back and neck pain. However, cosmetic surgery is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and should not be viewed as a quick fix for health problems.

Are there any age restrictions for cosmetic surgery in the UK?

There are no specific age restrictions for cosmetic surgery in the UK, but most surgeons will only perform procedures on patients who are over 18 years of age. 


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