Can Health Insurance Cover Cosmetic Surgery In Ontario?

By Krista DeKuyper | April 18, 2024 | Health Insurance

In Ontario, as in many regions, the line between elective and necessary medical procedures can sometimes blur, especially when discussing topics such as cosmetic surgery. This comprehensive guide explores the nuances of health insurance coverage for cosmetic surgeries in Ontario and aims to equip you with the essential knowledge to navigate complex medical needs. 

Understanding Health Insurance Coverage in Ontario

Health insurance coverage in Ontario is primarily facilitated through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). OHIP covers many necessary medical and emergency health services. However, the extent of coverage for surgeries that are considered cosmetic is more limited and subject to specific guidelines and exceptions.

In places where OHIP falls short, many Ontarians turn to private health insurance options. Private health insurance typically covers a wide variety of medical needs that don’t fall under OHIP. 

Defining Cosmetic Surgery: What Qualifies?

Cosmetic surgery is a patient-elected surgical procedure conducted with the purpose of changing a patient’s physical appearance. There are many types of cosmetic surgeries an individual can receive. Common areas that cosmetic surgeons operate on are the nose (rhinoplasty), the chest (breast augmentation), and the stomach (liposuction). Understanding whether a procedure is classified under cosmetic surgery can be pivotal in determining insurance coverage.

The line between reconstructive and cosmetic surgery is often blurred, as both surgeries are performed in a very similar manner. A common question regarding this topic is whether reconstructive surgery also falls under cosmetic surgery. The short answer: it doesn’t. Reconstructive surgeries are performed to correct abnormalities caused by congenital defects, traumatic injuries, or diseases like cancer. These are more likely to be covered by insurance as they aim to restore functionality or correct significant deformities.

Under most circumstances, cosmetic surgery won’t be considered medically necessary, and will not be covered by OHIP or other insurers. That being said, there are some exceptions where cosmetic surgery will be used for serious medical reasons. 

Exceptions: When Might Health Insurance Cover Cosmetic Surgery?

So when might health insurance cover cosmetic surgery? There are circumstances under which health insurance may cover procedures typically classified as cosmetic. These include cases where the surgery is necessary to improve or restore function or is required as a result of congenital defects, accidents, or severe diseases.

A Rhinoplasty can be performed to correct breathing issues caused by a deviated septum or other structural defects. The same goes for eyelid surgery, which is sometimes used to remove excess skin that may be impairing vision. 

In these cases, cosmetic surgery transcends its usual scope of beautification and becomes a crucial therapeutic intervention. Health insurance providers generally acknowledge the necessity of these surgeries and tend to offer coverage accordingly, albeit sometimes requiring detailed justifications and pre-approvals.

Alternatives and Supplementary Financing for Cosmetic Surgery

For procedures not covered by OHIP or private health insurance, there are other financing options available. These can include medical lines of credit, personal loans, specialized health care credit cards, and savings plans. Exploring these alternatives can provide a feasible path to achieving your aesthetic goals.


While health insurance does not typically cover cosmetic surgeries, understanding the exceptions and conditions that might influence this can impact your decision-making process. Equipped with the right information and a clear understanding of the financial options available, individuals can make informed decisions regarding cosmetic surgery and its implications on both health and finance.

To learn more about your private insurance options, you can use HealthQuotes’ very own Quick Quotes tool to compare multiple insurance plans at once. With Quick Quotes, you can easily find the insurance plan that works best for you and your needs.