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Will Medicare Cover my Breast Lift?

Can I claim my Breast Lift (Mastopexy) on Medicare?

Patients often ask if they can claim their Breast lift (mastopexy) on medicare. Breasts may sometimes cause infections and rashes. Breast lift surgery, also known as Mastopexy surgery may help reduce these effects.

Unfortunately, there is not a simple yes or no answer, however, there is a possibility. Medicare MIGHT offer rebates on Mastopexy surgery and breast reduction procedures. However, you must meet special criteria and conditions (Find more below).

Will your private health insurance cover you and contribute to the costs?

In order to claim your Breast Lift (mastopexy) surgery using your private insurance, you must be eligible for the Medicare item number. Furthermore, you also need to deal with your health fund directly regarding funding contributions to determine if you are eligible with the level of cover you have.

Why people choose to have Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery

  • As previously stated, rashes and chronic skin infections
  • Significant sagging or breast ptosis. When at least two-thirds of breast tissue is below the inframammary fold. Also known as the crease under the breast.
  • As well as other breast-weight related health conditions that impact your health

How Do I Qualify for the Medicare Rebate?

In order to qualify for a rebate from Medicare, you must meet certain Medicare criteria.

Your eligibility to claim your breast lift (mastopexy) with Medicare will depend on the degree of breast ptosis (breast sagging) as well as the age of your youngest child.

The below MBS Codes may be applicable for Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery

  • 45558 Breast Lift Mastopexy – Bilateral (both breasts)
  • 45556 Breast Lift Mastopexy – Unilateral (one breast only)- payable only once per occasion

Full MBS Item Number breakdown/Description

  • 45558 Breast ptosis, correction by mastopexy of (bilateral), if: (a) at least two-thirds of the breast tissue, including the nipple, lies inferior to the infra-mammary fold where the nipple is located at the most dependent, inferior part of the breast contour; and (b) if the patient has been pregnant-the correction is performed not less than 1 year, or more than 7 years, after completion of the most recent pregnancy of the patient; and (c) photographic evidence (including anterior, left lateral and right lateral views), with a marker at the level of the inframammary fold, demonstrating the clinical need for this service, is documented in the patient notes Applicable only once per lifetime (Anaes.) (Assist.)
  • NOTE – As of the 1st November 2021 – the 45558 criteria (b) relating to pregnancy / age of child has been deleted.
  • 45556 Breast ptosis, correction of (unilateral), in the context of breast cancer or developmental abnormality, if photographic evidence (including anterior, left lateral and right lateral views) and/or diagnostic imaging evidence demonstrating the clinical need for this service is documented in the patient notes – Applicable only once per occasion on which the service is provided

Will Medicare Cover Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery for medical reasons? – If you meet the MBS Criteria

Breast surgery may be necessary for medical reasons.

To be eligible to claim for a Medicare rebate for your breast lift (mastopexy) surgery it will need to be deemed medically necessary, this is achieved by meeting the following strict Medicare criteria. Not all patients will meet the following criteria:

  1. Your GP or plastic surgeon will need to assess the degree of breast sagging (breast ptosis and nipple location). Moreover, the nipple has to be significantly beneath the inframammary fold and photographic evidence is required
  2. You will also need to get and hold a current medical referral at the time of surgery. A GP Referral lasts 12 months whilst a referral from a specialist only lasts 3 months.

Find out about the medicare criteria for breast reduction surgery on our blog page.

Research to find out if Medicare and the MBS Covers Your Surgery Procedure

  • The MBS Medical Benefits Scheme has a very comprehensive list of coverage and you can use the search function to find your desired procedure.
  • If there is NOT a valid Medicare code for your surgery, your health fund will not cover the procedure.

If you would like to view the MBS schedule listing of Medicare rebates, you can visit MBS online.

Why is Medicare for Breast Surgery (Mastopexy) confusing a lot of patients seeking Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery?

This is due to the fact that there are so many variables. So much depends on the individual and the procedure required. Medicare will sometimes offer a very minor rebate on some procedures.

Generally, rebates are only available for reconstructive breast lift procedures or what is considered ‘essential’ surgery. Unfortunately, not all breast surgeries will fall under this category. Some patients may be eligible for a rebate on a breast lift and breast reduction. However, Breast Augmentation is rarely covered – maybe if a congenital defect like asymmetry or tuberous breasts.

When it comes to cosmetic and plastic surgery, the Medicare rebate guidelines are very clear.
Medicare won’t cover non-therapeutic cosmetic surgery and non-therapeutic plastic surgery procedures.

Potential Outcomes of Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery

There are multiple potential outcomes of breast lift (mastopexy). The patients may find that lessening the sag of the breasts may lead to altered posture.

Furthermore, the reduction of sagging breast tissue may help to keep fit much easier.

To view more before and after images you can visit the Breast lift (Mastopexy) Before and After Photo Gallery

Medicare Rebates are subject to change and review.

MBS Item codes can change or be eliminated from the Medicare rebate schedule. If your breast lift (mastopexy) surgery is currently eligible for a Medicare rebate, it may be best to perform your procedure sooner rather than later.

Other Plastic Surgery that can have Medicare and Private Health Insurance cover:

Other plastic surgery procedures that Medicare might cover (depending on eligibility) include;

  • Breast Asymmetry
  • An eyelid lift, also known as Blepharoplasty.
  • Breast lift (mastopexy) or breast reduction surgery (specific criteria apply)
  • Breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy
  • Similarly, Breast prosthesis following a mastectomy
  • Facial or nose reconstructive plastic surgery (when for accident or trauma)
  • Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty. In other words, corrective nose surgery (if breathing is impaired by nose injury).
  • As well as a deviated septum and other types of nasal structural abnormality
  • Body lift surgery, which involves addressing excess skin after rapid weight loss
  • As well as, Bariatric weight loss surgery for obesity

Currently, Medicare only covers medical and surgical procedures that are deemed clinically necessary for your health. There is no cover for elective plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures for purely cosmetic reasons, such as liposuction or breast enlargement. To be eligible to claim a Medicare item you need to visit your GP for a referral before surgery.

Top Tips for dealing with Medicare about your claim

  • Know the difference between Medicare and your Health Fund
  • Similarly, understand the difference between asking about Plastic Surgery (with medical benefits) versus Cosmetic Surgery (without). Plastic Surgery is sometimes called Cosmetic Plastic Surgery.
  • Be aware that even if you are eligible for a Medicare rebate or health fund coverage, you will most likely still have surgery expenses. Rebates rarely match actual plastic surgery costs.
  • Medicare WILL NOT cover purely cosmetic procedures – don’t ask! Typically, Medicare only covers plastic surgery procedures that relate to function or reconstruction.
  • Keep your language precise/accurate when speaking to medicare and your health fund about your specific surgery.
  • Some people mistake the terms of plastic and cosmetic surgery. It is plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery.
  • While these terms are interchangeable sometimes when dealing with health funds and or Medicare it is important not to confuse terms.
  • If it has a medical need or is reconstructive surgery, it’s usually Plastic Reconstructive Surgery.
  • Some MBS rebate codes include more comprehensive procedures than others.
  • Read and have an understanding of the codes and criteria in the area relating to your surgery.

Tips for dealing with your Health fund

  • If Medicare does not cover your surgery you will also lose any potential health fund rebates too.
  • Health Funds will only provide coverage when there is a Medicare Number attached to your procedure.
  • If your procedure has an MBS code, it’s imperative you check any health conditions or other eligibility requirements.
  • Your level of cover at your health fund is critical – many surgeries now require GOLD level Cover
  • Find out the meaning of “medically indicated” and “Statement of benefit”.

Further tips for claiming your breast lift (mastopexy)

  • Ask your surgeon or doctor to confirm IN WRITING that your procedure is for medical and not cosmetic reasons. It needs to meet the strict requirements of the Medicare rebate code criteria.
  • Procedures that are eligible for rebates often require a GENUINE PLASTIC & RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON. NOT simply a doctor or so-called cosmetic surgeon that operates out of a back-room
  • Make sure your surgeon is a Genuine Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon. And, that they have hospital operating rights.
  • Combining your surgery with other surgeries can alter or even completely VOID any eligibility for cover.
  • As stated previously you need to have a referral from a GP or Specialist stating your medical conditions.
    • GP Referrals are valid for 12 months.
    • Whilst a specialist referral only lasts for 3 months.
    • HINT: Ensure your referral does not become invalid before the date of your surgery.

When phoning Medicare and Health funds

  • Expect the process to be not only time-consuming but energy-consuming as well.
  • Save and write down ALL your questions for one phone call or visit. AVOID making lots of short phone calls.
  • Collate all your information in one place, in either a folder or a book
    • Keep all your questions – and subsequent answers in one place.
    • Write down dates, times and people that you speak to (including their name and ID number).
    • If possible get the number for their direct line and email address.
    • If that’s not possible, at least get a reference number and take extensive notes of your phone call/s
  • Call twice. By making two different phone calls and speaking to two different people you can cross-reference the information and ensure you have received the correct information & advice.
  • Ask for your advice in writing or by email. Ask for written confirmation of the conversation and data via email
  • Know the name of your particular surgery AND the details of your chosen Surgeon. In other words, ensure that they’re a Specialist with hospital operating privileges
  • ALWAYS make copies of ALL your forms before you submit them.
    • We recommend taking photos of your receipts on your phone as well.
    • This is a backup plan, in the event that your information goes missing.

Regrettably, we are not able to aid you with Medicare or Health Fund processing. This is solely the patient’s responsibility.

This is due to the fact that each patient will have different criteria, concerns and health funds etc. We are dedicated to surgery experience and outcomes.

However, we do list the Medicare code(s) on your Quote and on your Invoice(s). So, if you are eligible for a Medicare rebate code or health fund rebate, this can help you when it comes to submitting your paperwork.

More information about your Procedure

Phone (03) 8849 1400 or send us an enquiry form, below.

*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full-history and surgical consultation. Read further information about surgical outcome variability on our Disclaimer page.

Further Reading about Breast Lift or Mastopexy

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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