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Will Medicare Cover My Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty in Sydney?

You’ve probably heard of Medicare before, but do you really know what it is and how it works? Medicare is Australia’s universal health scheme. It’s a foundation of Australia’s health care system and covers a large part of the cost of most health services and products in both public and private sectors. It provides all Australians, permanent residents, and certain categories of visitors to Australia with access to health care services at a low or no cost. Medicare is designed to ensure that everyone in Australia can afford healthcare, regardless of their financial situation. It’s a critical part of Australia’s health care system, and it’s important for you to understand how it works. But Medicare is not just about visiting your local GP. It covers a wide range of services, from preventive care and screening tests to major surgical procedures. And that’s where Medicare item numbers come into play. They are a key part of how Medicare works and how it provides benefits to you.

In this blog, we will discuss Medicare for abdominoplasty, including Medicare item numbers used by Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Bish Soliman.

What Are Medicare Item Numbers?

Medicare item numbers are unique codes that are used to identify specific health services. They are part of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), which lists all of the services that are subsidised by the Australian government. Each service or procedure has a specific item number, and these numbers are used when doctors bill for their services.

For example, if you visit your GP for a consultation, they might bill Medicare using the item number for a “standard consultation”. If you need a blood test, the pathology lab would use a different item number. And if you need a major surgical procedure, like abdominoplasty, there would be yet another item number.

Medicare item numbers are not just for doctors, though. They are used by a wide range of health professionals, including specialists, pathologists, radiologists, and even physiotherapists. They are a fundamental part of the Medicare system, and understanding them can help you navigate your way through the healthcare system.

The Importance of Medicare Item Numbers

You might be wondering why you need to know about Medicare item numbers. After all, isn’t it the doctor’s job to know which item numbers to use? While it’s true that health professionals are responsible for choosing the right item numbers, understanding them can help you in several ways.

Medicare item numbers can give you a better understanding of what services are covered by Medicare. By looking up the item number for a particular service, you can find out whether it’s covered by Medicare, and how much you can expect to get back.

Knowing the right item number can help you to ensure that you are billed correctly. Mistakes can happen, and if the wrong item number is used, you might end up paying more than you need to.

Understanding Medicare item numbers can help you to plan for your healthcare costs. By knowing how much Medicare will cover for a particular service, you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.

Navigate the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a comprehensive list of all the services that are covered by Medicare. It’s available online, and you can use it to look up the item numbers for specific services.

Navigating the MBS can be a bit daunting at first, as it contains thousands of item numbers. But don’t worry, you don’t need to memorise them all. Instead, you can use the search function to find the item numbers you need. You can search by keyword, by item number, or by category of service.

Once you’ve found the right item number, you can click on it to get more details. This will tell you what the service is, who can provide it, and how much Medicare will pay towards it. It’s a valuable resource for understanding your healthcare costs and planning for your future healthcare needs.

Medicare Item Numbers for Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a “tummy tuck”, is a surgical procedure that tightens the muscles and removes loose skin and fat from the abdomen so that it appears flat and toned. It’s often sought after by individuals who have experienced significant weight loss or pregnancy.

There are several Medicare item numbers that relate to abdominoplasty. Each one corresponds to a different type of procedure, and the rebate you can claim from Medicare will depend on which item number is used.

The MBS Item Numbers that can be used for abdominoplasty are 30166, 30175, 30176, 30177 and 30179.

The rules around which item numbers can be used can be complex, and it’s important to discuss this with Dr Bish’s team before the procedure. They will be able to advise you on which item numbers are appropriate, and how much you can expect to get back from Medicare.

How to Find the Right Abdominoplasty Item Number

Finding the right abdominoplasty item number can be a bit tricky, as there are several to choose from. The best way to find the right one is to discuss it with Dr Bish Soliman. His team will be able to advise you on which item number is appropriate based on your individual circumstances and the type of procedure you are having.

Have a look at the details of some popular item numbers used for abdominoplasty. This can give you a better understanding of what each item number represents, and how much you can expect to get back from Medicare. Remember, the item number is just one part of the equation. The amount you will pay for your surgery will also depend on the plastic surgeon’s fees, the anaesthetist’s fees, and the hospital costs. All of these factors should be taken into account when planning for your surgery.

Details of the MBS Item Numbers for Abdominoplasty

Item Number 30166

Removal of redundant abdominal skin and lipectomy, as a wedge excision, for functional problems following significant weight loss equivalent to at least 5 body mass index points and if there has been a stable weight for a period of at least 6 months prior to surgery, other than a service associated with a service to which item 30175, 30176, 30177, 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, 45567, 46060, 46062, 46064, 46066, 46068, 46070, 46072, 46080, 46082, 46084, 46086, 46088 or 46090 applies (H)

Benefit: 75% = $616.10

Item Number 30175

Radical abdominoplasty, with repair of rectus diastasis, excision of skin and subcutaneous tissue, and transposition of umbilicus, not being a laparoscopic procedure, if:
(a) the patient has an abdominal wall defect as a consequence of pregnancy; and
(b) the patient:

(i) has a diastasis of at least 3cm measured by diagnostic imaging prior to this service; and
(ii) has either or both of the following:

(A) at least moderately severe pain or discomfort at the site of the diastasis in the abdominal wall during functional use and the pain or discomfort has been documented in the patient’s records by the practitioner providing the service;
(B) low back pain or urinary symptoms likely due to rectus diastasis and the pain or symptoms have been documented in the patient’s records by the practitioner providing the service; and

(iii) has failed to respond to non-surgical conservative treatment, that must have included physiotherapy; and
(iv) has not been pregnant in the last 12 months; and

(c) the service is not a service associated with a service to which item 30166, 30169, 30176, 30177, 30179, 30651, 30655, 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, 45567, 46060, 46062, 46064, 46066, 46068, 46070, 46072, 46080, 46082, 46084, 46086, 46088 or 46090 applies
Applicable once per lifetime (H)

Benefit: 75% = $796.90

Item Number 30176

Radical abdominoplasty, with excision of skin and subcutaneous tissue, repair of musculoaponeurotic layer and transposition of umbilicus, not being a service associated with a service to which item 30166, 30169, 30175, 30177, 30179, 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, 45567, 46060, 46062, 46064, 46066, 46068, 46070 or 46072 applies, if the patient has previously had a massive intra-abdominal or pelvic tumour surgically removed (H)

Benefit: 75% = $809.65

Item Number 30177

Lipectomy, excision of skin and subcutaneous tissue associated with redundant abdominal skin and fat that is a direct consequence of significant weight loss, in conjunction with a radical abdominoplasty, with or without repair of musculoaponeurotic layer and transposition of umbilicus, not being a service associated with a service to which item 30166, 30175, 30176, 30179, 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, 45567, 46060, 46062, 46064, 46066, 46068, 46070, 46072, 46080, 46082, 46084, 46086, 46088 or 46090 applies, if:

(a) there is intertrigo or another skin condition that risks loss of skin integrity and has failed 3 months of conventional (or non-surgical) treatment; and

(b) the redundant skin and fat interferes with the activities of daily living; and

(c) the weight has been stable for at least 6 months following significant weight loss prior to the lipectomy

Benefit: 75% = $809.65

Item Number 30179

Circumferential lipectomy, as an independent procedure, to correct circumferential excess of redundant skin and fat that is a direct consequence of significant weight loss, with or without a radical abdominoplasty, not being a service associated with a service to which item 30175, 30176, 30177, 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, 45567, 46060, 46062, 46064, 46066, 46068, 46070, 46072, 46080, 46082, 46084, 46086, 46088 or 46090 applies, if:

(a) the circumferential excess of redundant skin and fat is complicated by intertrigo or another skin condition that risks loss of skin integrity and has failed 3 months of conventional (or non-surgical) treatment; and

(b) the circumferential excess of redundant skin and fat interferes with the activities of daily living; and

(c) the weight has been stable for at least 6 months following significant weight loss prior to the lipectomy

Benefit: 75% = $996.50

Additional Notes regarding Lipectomy Item Numbers 30166, 30177 and 30179

Lipectomy is not primarily designed to address obesity. Procedures done purely for aesthetic reasons are not covered by MBS benefits.

To determine a patient’s qualification for lipectomy procedures (30166, 30169, 30177, and 30179) related to significant weight loss (SWL), SWL is characterised as a weight reduction equal to or more than five BMI units. Before undergoing lipectomy, the patient’s weight should have remained consistent for a minimum of six months after SWL. For weight loss post-pregnancy, the weight of the baby and related factors should not be considered when calculating the initial weight for comparison. Claims for lipectomy procedures cannot be combined with items 45530, 45531, 45564, 45565, and 45567. If there’s a need for surgical closure of the abdomen with umbilicus reconstruction after free tissue transfer (45564, 45565, 45567) or breast reconstruction (45530, 45531), then item 45571 should be claimed.

Cost of Abdominoplasty and Medicare Rebates

The cost of abdominoplasty can vary significantly, depending on a range of factors. These can include the plastic surgeon’s fees, the anaesthetist’s fees, the hospital costs, and the type of procedure you are having.

Medicare provides a rebate for some of these costs, based on the item number that is used. The rebate is typically a percentage of the “schedule fee”, which is the amount that the government considers to be a fair fee for the service.

However, it’s important to note that many surgeons charge more than the schedule fee. This is known as a “gap”, and you will need to pay this amount out of pocket. The size of the gap can vary, so it’s important to discuss this with Dr Bish’s team before scheduling the procedure.

FAQs about Medicare and Abdominoplasty

Does Medicare cover the cost of abdominoplasty?

  • Medicare provides a rebate for abdominoplasty, but it does not cover the full cost of the procedure. You will need to pay the difference out of pocket.

How much does abdominoplasty cost?

  • The cost of abdominoplasty can vary significantly, depending on a range of factors. These can include the plastic surgeon’s fees, the anaesthetist’s fees, the hospital costs, and the type of procedure you are having.

How much will I get back from Medicare for my tummy tuck-abdominoplasty?

  • The amount you will get back from Medicare will depend on the item number that is used. You can look up the item number on the list above to see how much you can expect to get back.

If I have private health insurance, will it cover the remaining costs after the Medicare rebate?

  • Depending on your level of cover and the policy’s terms, private health insurance may cover some or all of the remaining hospital and medical costs after the Medicare rebate. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage.

Are there any post-operative treatments related to abdominoplasty that Medicare covers?

  • Medicare may cover post-operative treatments deemed medically necessary, such as wound care, physical therapy, or follow-up consultations. However, any treatments or consultations for cosmetic purposes or enhancements won’t be covered.

How do I apply for a Medicare rebate for my abdominoplasty procedure?

  • If Dr Bish determines that the abdominoplasty is medically necessary and meets Medicare’s criteria, his team will provide you with the relevant documentation and MBS item number. Keep in mind that you need a referral from your GP to see Dr Bish if you want to claim a Medicare rebate for your surgery.

Are there any changes or updates to Medicare’s coverage of abdominoplasty that I should be aware of?

  • Medicare’s policies and coverage criteria can change over time. It’s advisable to regularly check the official Medicare Australia website or consult with a medical professional to stay updated on any changes related to abdominoplasty coverage.

Further Reading about Abdominoplasty Surgery with Dr Bish Soliman

Medical References about Abdominoplasty and Medicare

About Dr Bish Soliman

Dr Bish Soliman - Sydney Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, about us 01 2x
Specialist Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon
FRACS (Plas), MS (Plas), MBBS (Hons 1), BCom

AHPRA Registered Medical Practitioner MED 0001679053 Specialist Registration in Plastic Surgery

Dr Bish Soliman is a Sydney-based Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who performs aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, and body as well as skin cancer surgery.

He currently holds two consultant microsurgery positions in major Sydney hospitals performing complex microsurgical reconstruction including DIEP breast reconstruction.

After graduating from The King’s School, Dr Bish completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Sydney. After working briefly at a major Sydney finance firm, he decided to pursue his passion and long-term goal of a career in medicine. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame at the top of his class, receiving First class honours and the prestigious Bower and Sherrard medal. He then went on to complete his junior medical training at Westmead Hospital during which time he was awarded Junior Medical Officer (JMO) of the Year, as well as a finalist for NSW Doctor of the Year.

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Next Steps

Do your Research

  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read the risks and complications page
  • Visit our procedure pages and Blogs to learn more about your intended procedure

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Bish
  • Take notes during the consultation and review all the documents provided
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider your options
  • You may need to undress for a physical exam so wear comfortable clothes

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Call us to find out more about surgery pricing and how you can pay for your surgery
  • Request more information about your procedure – call or contact us.

How to Book Your Consultation

  • A GP Medical Referral is now essential to see Dr Bish Soliman for any type of surgery.
  • You can book your consultation with Dr Bish Soliman by paying the consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Contact Dr Bish Soliman’s team

We look forward to hearing from you soon

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