Medicare plastic surgery changes: will they impact you?

Medicare has announced significant changes to plastic surgery item numbers on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) that will be effective from the 1st of November 2018. If you do not have item numbers listed on your informed financial consent document, this news won’t impact your costs. This will impact rebates and health fund coverage for patients with certain item numbered procedures, so if you are having plastic surgery from the 1st of November onwards, it’s important to be aware of these changes and read on. What does this mean? Some MBS item numbers are being abolished altogether, while others will have a tighter eligibility criteria. If we have issued you with a quote that lists an item number, this quote is only valid for surgery performed up until the 31st of October 2018.
 Dr Sharp’s fees are not changing, but some rebates are, and so for surgery that’s planned from the 1st of November onwards, we will need to provide you with an updated quote based on the final version of the new Medicare item numbers. Which procedures are impacted? This list covers some popular procedures involved, and is not comprehensive: otoplasty: must be performed before the age of 18 or costs will increase by approximately $2,500 blepharoplasty: an optometrist or ophthalmologist will need to confirm that your excess eyelid skin obstructs your vision - if you don’t meet the criteria, costs may increase by approximately $2,500 breast reductions and lifts (mastopexy): in you don’t satisfy the criteria, costs will increase by approximately $3,000 - $6,500 (depending on inpatient stay) removal and replacement of breast implants: if you don’t satisfy the...

What is actinic or ‘solar’ keratosis?

An actinic keratosis (AK) is also known as a ‘solar’ keratosis. It has the appearance of a crusty, scaly growth and is caused by  damage to the skin from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation; something we see a lot of in Queensland! Can it cause skin cancer? Actinic keratosis is considered a pre cancer because if  it’s left alone it may develop into a skin cancer, most often the second most common form of the disease, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). What causes solar keratosis? Sun exposure! Queensland has the dubious title of the ‘skin cancer capital of the world’, having the highest rates of skin cancer thanks to our high year-round UV levels, outdoor lifestyle and the predominance of people with light skin colour in our population. The most common type of precancerous skin lesion, actinic keratosis appear on skin that has been regularly exposed to the sun or artificial sources of UV light, such as tanning machines. Where does actinic keratosis form on the body? They most frequently appear on exposed areas such as the face and body, including the scalp, ears, shoulders, neck, arms and back of hands. They can also appear on the shin, ankles and feet. Which skin types are more likely to develop solar keratosis? People who have fair complexions are more prone to AKs than are people with medium or dark skin. What does solar keratosis look like? They are often elevated, rough in texture and resemble warts or scabs. They often become red, and can range in colour from  light or dark beige, white or pink. They can also change colour. In...