Hi Darlene :) I believe I can help you with that, having just done all the homework possible on the procedure!
It is very tricky, if not impossible, to get obesity surgery bulk-billed in Australia at the moment. You practically have to be on your death-bed with multiple compounding health-problems (approved ones that must be directly caused by your obesity) and even then... it would come down to the surgeon. It's very sad and may change but unfortunately thems the breaks!
My surgery is booked for April 2016 - 6 months away still! - because I got top hospital health cover to help me out. You gotta have the cover for 12 months though so hence why I have booked so far ahead. One thing I didn't realise is you can withdraw money from your super to pay for the surgery and you can do so even with private health.
My private health (top hospital, no extras) costs me around $135/month and my surgeon, assistant, anaesthetist bills come to around $5500 on top of that. Of that, you'll get back around $1000 from Medicare and ur health fund's 'generous' contribution.
My biggest lessons learnt were:
-Hospital cover only covers the hospital/theatre/nurses/post-op ward care - not the surgery.
-Some private hospitals (you have no choice, it must be private) won't take self-funded patients. Meaning even if you want to pay in full with cash (if you are that lucky), you still must have health insurance in case of complications.
-Shop around... I initially booked surgery with a surgeon in Brisbane charging $6500 then found my surgeon for $4500.... big difference!
Hope this helps...