How to Finance Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgeries done in USA, 2015. (Source)

We all want to look our best. Sometimes a little help from plastic surgery makes all the difference. While it can be an exciting change, cosmetic surgery is expensive when it’s elective. Fortunately, you have several options to plastic surgery financing. Here is what you need to know about how you can pay for plastic surgery, even with bad credit.

How much does plastic surgery cost?

Cosmetic surgery is becoming more popular each year. In 2015 alone, more than 15.9 million procedures were done in the U.S., a 2% increase from the prior year. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that Americans spend $13.5 billion a year on these procedures. These are the average prices for the most popular surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures:

Average Cost of Top 5 surgical cosmetic procedures
  • Liposuction – $3,176
  • Breast Augmentation – $3,964
  • Tummy Tuck – 5,891
  • Eyelid Surgery – $3,020
  • Breast Lift – $4,634
Average Cost of Top 5 non-surgical procedures
  • Botulinum Toxin (includes Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) – $317
  • Hyaluronic Acid (Juvederm Ultra, Voluma, Perlane) – $591
  • Hair Removal (laser or pulsed light) – $254
  • Chemical Peel – $628
  • Microdermabrasion – $129

While the non-surgical options may seem affordable, be sure to research these carefully as you often need to complete multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.

Does insurance ever cover plastic surgery?

It would be a mistake to assume you need to pay for all plastic surgery out of your own pocket. Some cosmetic procedures are medically justified and, therefore, may be covered by insurance.

The general test is that if the surgery or procedure is for the sole purpose of improving your appearance or self-esteem, it isn’t covered.

However, surgery related to other health conditions, such as breast cancer, or a procedure that will improve physical function may be covered. Some patients that have breathing issues can get health insurance to pay for a nose job, while others who have back pain from large breasts can get approval for a breast reduction procedure. Before you write a big check or look for cosmetic surgery financing, check your options with your health insurance.

Options for plastic surgery financing

If you determine that your surgery is elective, you’ll have to pay all costs associated with the procedure. Plastic surgery is expensive enough as it is, so you want to keep financing costs to a minimum. Fortunately, you have several options available.

1. Credit cards

Depending on your credit, using a new or existing credit card for cosmetic surgery financing could be your best option. Many cards offer a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) as well as some valuable rewards points that you can use for vacations or cash back.

If you don’t know your credit score, that should be your first stop. You can check it for free here. A credit card is a good choice if you can qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer card and pay off your debt within the introductory rate period.

For example, the Citi Simplicity credit card has no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR for 18 months. If you pay the balance within the first 18 months, you will not pay any interest. Once the introductory period ends, the APRs for this card are based on your credit and range from 13.24 to 23.24%.

2. Medical credit cards

Medical credit cards are a new trend in the quest for plastic surgery financing and other elective procedures.

Some medical credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR that lasts for  six to twelve months. However, note that some cards will apply interest retroactively if the balance isn’t paid in full during the initial period. Care Credit is a popular medical credit card that received some negative press in recent years for paying commissions to providers and paying medical associations for endorsements. The lesson is to use caution when considering a medical credit card.

3. Plastic surgery loans

A personal loan can be a good option for plastic surgery financing. Your local bank or credit union will offer personal loans, but online lenders are just as competitive with rates and terms.

Personal loans are set up as an unsecured term loan, with a fixed interest rate that will depend on your creditworthiness. Fixed interest rates remain steady throughout the term of the loan, so you always know how much your payments will be.

The benefit of these loans is that you can stretch out payments for your procedure longer, making them more affordable. Depending on the interest rate and other fees, however, you could significantly increase the overall expense related to your plastic surgery.

Let’s say that you want to pay for a tummy tuck and need to borrow the money to pay for it. If you get a personal loan with LightStream, you can get a medical loan for as little as 5.99% APR.

4. Loan from your 401k

Cosmetic surgery does not usually qualify for 401k distributions. The exception is if the cosmetic surgery is performed to correct a disfiguring disease, resulting from an accident, or a genetic abnormality. While borrowing money from your 401k account may be cheaper than most low-interest option, it’s not without its risks and downsides. For instance, if you were unable to repay the loan, it would be treated as an early withdrawal, which makes it subject to income tax and a 10% penalty.

5. Home equity loan

If you own a home and have accumulated equity, you can take advantage of low interest rates by taking out a home equity loan (2nd mortgage) or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is an affordable option for homeowners who are considring plastic surgery financing with the benefit that interest payments on mortgage loans are tax deductible.

Just remember that, as with any mortgage, you are using your home as collateral for the loan. If you fail to make payments on this new loan, you risk foreclosure on your home.

How to finance plastic surgery with bad credit

Even if you have bad credit, there is still hope to get cosmetic surgery loans to finance your procedure. Some doctors offices will work with you to set up a payment plan that’s within your budget. You should ask about this before exploring other options. Most, however, ask for payment upfront which will require that you find a credit card or personal loan to meet your needs.

If your credit score is at least 580, apply for a personal loan through Avant. Loans can be funded within just a few business days. There is a loan origination fee but no prepayment fee. See Avant’s profile for the latest rates and fees.

If your credit score is over 640 and you want to apply for a credit card, try the Chase Freedom Unlimited SM. This is a cash back rewards card that offers a 0% APR for the first 15 months. After the introductory period, the APR will increase to the standard rate which varies depending on your credit. There is no annual fee with the card, but there is a 3% balance transfer fee.

Compare lenders and offers

A careful comparison of personal loan lenders and credit card offers will help ensure that you choose the best possible option for your needs. Your research will help you determine the total cost of the procedure.