Are you struggling with your weight and looking at a weight loss surgery to help you get down to a healthier size? If so, you may be excited about the results you can achieve but discouraged by the high price tag. As we explain in this article, the costs can be very expensive. However, there are many financing options that can help.
We will cover the main types of weight loss and bariatric surgeries, how much they cost, and numerous financing options you can choose from. By the end, you will know your options and will have the information needed to find the best solution for you.
Before answering the question of ‘How to finance my bariatric surgery?’ it’s important to understand what kind of surgery you are looking to get and how much it will cost. Let’s briefly review your options.
4 Main Types of Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgeries
Here are the various forms of bariatric surgeries available today.
With restrictive surgery, your stomach is essentially made smaller. This lowers the amount of food you can eat at each meal. There are three popular forms of restrictive gastric surgery.
With these surgeries, part of your digestive system is either removed or altered. This means your body absorbs fewer calories but also fewer nutrients. Here are the two types.
#3 Vagal Nerve Blocking $18,500
With this procedure, a device is put into your body that uses electrical stimulation to help control your appetite by blocking hunger signals traveling from your brain to your stomach.
There is currently only one device approved by the FDA for this, the V-Bloc.
#4 Aspiration $10,500
This final procedure helps you lose weight by stopping your stomach from fully digesting the food you eat. It does this by emptying the contents of your stomach before the food is digested. The FDA has approved this method but with only one device, the AspireAssist.
Now that you know the options, let’s compare the costs.
Costs With Insurance
The chart below from the Bariatric Surgery Source shows what you can expect each of the surgeries to cost if your insurance covers the procedure.
Each insurance company will vary in coverage so be sure to contact them to find out about their terms and conditions. If you’d like to browse a range of popular insurance providers, click here.
Costs Without Insurance
Of course, the cost without insurance is going to be far higher. This chart shows the average costs you can expect.
As you can see, these surgeries can be very expensive. Even with insurance coverage, the lowest average out-of-pocket cost is $2,000. With this in mind, let’s look at your financing options.
Financing Options for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery
Here’s how you can pay for everything from gastric sleeve surgery to a duodenal switch. We will cover doctor payment plans, unsecured personal loans, secured loans, and 401k loans.
Doctor Payment Plan
Because gastric surgery procedures are so costly, many doctors who perform them have payment plan options to help you fund the surgery.
How it Works
Most of these payment plans allow you to repay the cost of the surgery in monthly installments, either interest-free or at a lower interest rate than many other credit options. In some cases, doctors may even reduce costs further if patients obviously cannot afford it.
One advantage is you can spread out the cost over time interest-free or at a low interest rate. It can also be easier to get approved as the doctor gains your business by financing you.
Although some doctors offer what seems to be a doctor payment plan, the plan is sometimes through unsecured credit card companies. You may run into fees you didn’t expect and interest rates that jump up over time, so it’s important to look carefully at all of the terms and conditions. Be sure to ask if they are using a third party as you may get better rates shopping for third parties yourself.
Unsecured Personal Loans
Next up are unsecured personal loans. These don’t require you to put up a form of collateral to secure the loan. Instead, you are given the loan with fees and interest rates attached. The terms you receive depend on your credit score, income, and the amount of your loan.
There are several sources you can turn to for unsecured loans such as banks, marketplace lenders, and credit card providers.
How it Works
As with all loans of this kind, your application will be assessed based on your credit score, income, and expenditure. This will result in a loan amount, monthly installments, and a certain interest rate being applied to the loan. Lightstream and Avant are popular lenders in this category.
These loans have a fixed interest rate which can be a blessing in volatile economic conditions. By repaying them, you build up your credit rating. Another major advantage over a credit card is that once the loan amount is set, you cannot add any more credit. This means you will not be tempted to go deeper into debt.
Because interest rates are fixed, they are often higher than an alternate credit option with adjustable rates. This type of loan option is also not typically available to people with a poor credit score.
Often called peer-to-peer lending, this option connects borrowers with lenders who will fund their loans.
How it Works
Here, usually through an online marketplace lending platform, you will be matched up with a lender who will provide you the money for your weight loss surgery. Loans typically range in value between $1,000 to $40,000 and can be repaid within one to five years. Popular platforms include SoFi and LendingClub.
There are significant advantages to marketplace lending including fewer fees and ease of approval compared to bank loans. Interest rates are competitive with more traditional forms of lending, and you won’t need to provide collateral. Finally, if you choose to pay off your loan early, there are usually no early payment fees.
If you have a poor credit history, it may be difficult to secure a loan, and if you do, it will typically be at a fairly high-interest rate.
This is referring to a regular credit card from a bank or other financial institution.
How it Works
If you are going to go the traditional credit card route, a balance transfer card is best. For example, the Citi Simplicity Card offers a 0% introductory rate for 21 months and has no annual fee. Another great option is the Citi Double Cash Card which offers 18 months of 0% interest, no annual fee, and cashback rewards.
The greatest advantage for you here is that you get a period to pay back the money without any interest. By paying back the credit amount, you also build your credit history. Another bonus, the application process is easy.
By using a regular credit card to pay for your weight loss surgery, you may not have enough credit for other emergencies that may crop up. You also want to choose a card with an interest rate that will not jump up before you finish paying off the surgery.
That wraps up the unsecured personal loan section, now let’s look at secured personal loans.
With the secured loan option, you will need to provide some form of collateral. This provides security to the lending institution if you default on paying back your installments. The most popular form of this loan is a home equity loan.
Home Equity Loans Or HELOCs
As the name says, these loans are taken out against your house’s current equity value.
How it Works
Your credit score, income, and the amount borrowed will all be taken into consideration while the interest applied to the loan is based on mortgage rates at the time. HELOCs are available from a number of lenders, not just banks. Browse and compare lenders here.
These are often the easiest loans to secure if you own a home. Another benefit is that the interest paid on these loans can be tax deductible and the rates are usually significantly lower than unsecured loans.
Unstable economic conditions can lead to interest rate hikes putting you at risk of making loan repayments. If you don’t pay your loan, your house is at risk.
Other Forms of Loan Collateral
It’s not only your home that can be put up for collateral to secure a loan. Other assets such as vehicles/boats/aircraft, land, cash investments, and certificates of deposits may be accepted by lenders.
Lastly, this is a loan where you borrow against your 401k plan.
How it Works
401k plan providers will usually allow you to borrow up to half of your vested balance, generally set at a maximum of $50,000. This is typically paid off over five years through deductions from your paycheck.
The biggest advantage of these loans is that there are no credit checks, so if you have a bad credit rating, this might be a good option. The interest is usually fairly low as well and payments are easy as you don’t have to do anything, they come right out of your paycheck.
The downside is that if you leave your current job or get let go, the balance you owe on the loan may become due immediately. If you can’t pay it off, there is a chance it may be counted as a early disbursement which you will need to pay taxes on as well as a 10% penalization fee.
Browse and Compare Financing Options
Now you know about the many options you can choose from to finance your weight loss or bariatric surgery. The best solution is going to depend on your individual circumstances. If you have good credit, an unsecured loan or balance tranfer credit card may provide the favorable terms you are looking for. If your credit is not so good, maybe a 401k loan, HELOC, or doctor provided plan will be the best route.
Shop around to compare your options. Read expert reviews and consumer comments to get the best deal. Once you find it, you can go ahead with your surgery and get on the path to the weight loss you want!
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