Don't like the shape of your nose? Looking for a bigger bust? Think your tummy could use a bit of a tuck? If you're considering going under the knife to spruce up your appearance, don't expect your health insurance company to pick up the tab.
An increasing number of people are undergoing cosmetic surgery either at home in the UK, or overseas, and it can be hard to understand why insurance rarely pays the cost.
Unless the surgery is reconstructive after an accident, no health insurance will pay for this.
As you are paying for cosmetic surgery out of your own pocket, you also bear the costs if anything goes wrong. You can try suing the surgeon, but this is a long and tedious process that rarely ends up with any payment to a customer.
Insurance protection on cosmetic surgery is sparse.
Private medical insurance
Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective. Cosmetic surgery is your choice and not considered a medical necessity.
Medically necessary reconstructive surgery may be covered by your health insurer, but it is borderline area where the decision rests with the insurer, not you.
The general rule insurance companies follow is that if there is a medical reason for the surgery, it will be covered under reconstructive surgery. For example, a patient may need a rhinoplasty due to obstructive breathing. A second patient may want a rhinoplasty because she feels her nose is not perfect. The first patient may have it covered by insurance, the second patient would not.
Most insurance companies will have medical criteria that must be met in order for the surgery to be covered.
An increasing number of insurers are adding specific exclusions to make it plain that cover does not apply to elective cosmetic surgery.
Health cash plans
These cover day to day health costs, and cosmetic surgery is not listed as an area covered.
Slowly, health cash plan insurers are adding exclusions to make sure people know that cosmetic surgery is not covered.
Dental insurance covers emergency and regular dental treatment. It rarely covers cosmetic dentistry.
Standard travel insurance will not protect you for travelling overseas to have cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery usually goes well, but not always. Extra work or repairs may be needed.
If you are travelling overseas for cosmetic surgery, some medical travel policies will offer some degree of cover for extra costs.