Insurance and legal information
Here’s some of the most commonly asked questions relating to insurance for cosmetic surgery, and legal issues.Will Your Health Insurance Cover Your Cosmetic Surgery?
If you’ve got general health insurance, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered for cosmetic treatments, unless they’re considered reconstructive, and thus medically necessary. Every insurance plan is different, but as a general rule, if you can live comfortably without the procedure, it’s extremely unlikely that your insurance will cover it.
Before booking your treatment, it’s a good idea to make sure that the medical practice and the surgeon are both insured; and more to the point, that you’ll have the benefit of that insurance should anything go wrong during your procedure. Some clinics may have general insurance but may not offer insurance for your specific treatment – so you’ll need to double-check before committing. Also, you shouldn’t assume that if a clinic has insurance then that insurance necessarily applies to the surgeon carrying out your procedure so again you should check this.
It is important to establish who your contract is with and who is responsible if something goes wrong. Your contract might be with the clinic or it might be with the surgeon personally. This can appear confusing at first especially if you book your treatment through a booking service online because the booking service might be a completely separate party.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your cosmetic surgery for any reason, and you think you may have grounds for complaint based on medical negligence, then you should consult a specialist lawyer who will be able to assess your case for you and if you do have sufficient grounds to take legal action then you may be able to claim compensation.
However, it’s important to note that it needs to be proven that negligence has occurred. If it’s a case that you are proven to have had unrealistic expectations about the outcome, or you haven’t followed the correct aftercare procedure, you will not be entitled to compensation. This is why it is so important to make sure you do thorough research before choosing a surgeon and committing to surgery. You need to know exactly what you are getting into, be confident that your surgeon is capable of meeting your expectations and that you know exactly what is expected of you.
Surgical practice is currently regulated in the UK by the General Medical Council (GMC) and if your surgeon is registered with this independent organisation, that’s one indicator that they may be reliable. However, some private surgeons are legally able to operate without being registered with the GMC and even if a surgeon is registered with the GMC he may not be on the Specialist Register of Plastic Surgeons which is maintained by the GMC.
As a result, it’s important to check exactly what qualifications and credentials your surgeon has, whether they are registered members of reliable medical bodies, such as BAPRAS or BAAPS in the UK. You should always check whether your surgeon, clinic and procedure is covered by insurance that protects you.
Worryingly, yes they can. A doctor may refer to him or herself as a plastic surgeon without any specialist qualifications whatsoever. This is why it is so important to do your research before committing to surgery.
If after your surgery you’re not happy with the results, or you believe that the operation was not carried out properly, the first person to contact is the surgeon himself. You’ll also need to check who is responsible for your treatment and thus liable in the event of something going wrong. Is it the surgeon or the clinic? Remember that in some instances it may not be the same people who made the booking for you if you used an online booking service.
If you feel that you need to take things further, you can complain to the Care Quality Commission, who will investigate the matter in more depth.