18.1 million. That’s how many cosmetic surgeries were done in the U.S. in 2020.
We all want to look our best. A little help from plastic surgery can go a long way in boosting your confidence and self-esteem. But cosmetic surgery is expensive, and your insurance won’t cover an elective procedure. So how can you finance your plastic surgery?
Here is what you need to know about how to pay for plastic surgery, even with bad credit.
How much do plastic surgery procedures cost?
Cosmetic surgery gets more popular every year. In 2018, more than 17.7 million procedures were done in the U.S. alone. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that Americans spent more than $16 billion on cosmetic operations that year. Considering the amount of money involved, it’s no wonder people are on the lookout for plastic surgery financing.
These are the average prices for the most popular cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical cosmetic procedures:
- Breast Augmentation – $3,515
- Liposuction – $3,279
- Nose Reshaping – $5,146
- Tummy Tuck – $6,083
- Buttock Augmentation – $4,708
- Botulinum Toxin (includes Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) – $420
- Hyaluronic Acid (Juvederm Ultra, Voluma, Perlane) – $651
- Hair Removal (laser or pulsed light) – $457
- Chemical Peel – $545
- Microdermabrasion – $149
While the non-surgical options may seem affordable, these cost estimates can be deceptive. That’s because many of these procedures require multiple sessions to achieve results.
Are you wondering if health insurance covers cosmetic surgery? Is your health insurance an alternative to plastic surgery financing? The answer is… maybe. Read on to learn more.
Do insurance companies ever cover plastic surgery or offer plastic surgery financing?
Generally speaking, if you’re undergoing cosmetic surgery or a procedure for the sole purpose of improving your appearance or self-esteem, insurance won’t cover it. However, not all plastic surgery requires out-of-pocket payment or putting your procedure on a credit card. If a cosmetic procedure is medically justified, your insurance may pay for your plastic surgery.
Insurance also pays for surgery related to other health conditions and procedures that improve physical function, even those that are considered plastic surgery. For example, some patients with breathing issues can get health insurance to pay for nose surgery. Patients who suffer back pain as a result of their breast size may get their insurance to sign off on a plastic surgery breast reduction procedure. Someone who has lost a large amount of weight can get their tummy tucks and face lifts covered due to excessive skin.
Before you pay for plastic surgery, check with your health insurance company to find out if they’ll cover your procedure. There’s no harm in trying!
What credit score do you need for plastic surgery financing?
When you’re thinking about plastic surgery financing you want to be aware of your credit score and credit history. Use a free app like Credit Karma to pull up your credit report and check your credit scores. Credit Karma will list any credit card debt, personal loans, student loans, medical credit cards like CareCredit, and any lender or loan application you’ve approached or filled out. These credit scores go up as you do things like making payments on time every month. They go down when you miss payments or have high balances on your credit cards.
Credit Karma lists your credit score and credit history for both the major agencies: Equifax and Transunion. They will also give you options for secured credit cards you can apply for with your current credit score.
You can use a credit card like this to cover your cosmetic procedures instead of trying for a personal loan, HELOC loan, or other type of surgery financing. Learn about your credit history and use the information to boost your score before you apply in order to improve your chances of medical credit approval.
How can you finance plastic surgery?
Now that you know your credit score through Credit Karma, you’ll have a better idea of your options for medical credit and financing plastic surgery procedures. Depending on the procedure your doctor will use, there are a few different financing options for your surgery.
If your surgery is elective, you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket. Your options for managing out-of-pocket payments include a payment plan of monthly payments, plastic surgery loans, or medical credit cards. Because plastic surgery is expensive, you’ll want to keep financing costs on an unsecured loan to a minimum. Fortunately, you have several financing options to pay for the plastic surgery you long for.
1. Use a credit card
Depending on your credit score, financing plastic surgery on a new or existing credit card could be one of your best financing options. Many credit cards offer a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR), as well as valuable rewards points that you can use for vacations or cashback.
If you don’t know your credit score, that should be your first step, use the Credit Karma tool as we mentioned above. You can also check it for free here in addition to using Credit Karma. If you can qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer card for your surgery, financing your procedure with a low APR credit card is your best bet. The 0% APR is the most attractive part of plastic surgery financing options like this. Just make sure you’re able to pay it off during the introductory period. Read the terms and conditions carefully. After the grace period ends, your APR will skyrocket.
Looking for a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period? The Citi Simplicity credit card has no annual fee and offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 18 months. If you maintain more than your minimum monthly payments and can pay off your balance within that time, you won’t have to pay any interest.
2. Use a medical credit card
Many medical credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR that lasts between six and twelve months to give you time to up your monthly payments and avoid high interest charges. However, if your balance isn’t paid in full during that period, some credit cards apply your interest rate retroactively. Be sure to read the fine print.
Care Credit is a popular choice for medical credit cards that accepts applicants with less-than-stellar credit. However, they do apply retroactive interest. If you go this route, be sure to pay off your debt within the grace period.
3. Get a personal loan
A personal loan is another great option for plastic surgery financing. You can take out an unsecured loan from your local bank or credit union. You can also explore the online marketplace to find competitive loans with low monthly payments and interest rates among online lenders.
Personal loans typically have fixed interest rates which vary depending on your credit score. This means that your loan’s interest rate won’t fluctuate over the life of your loan, making it a reliable option.
One of the major benefits of personal loans is that they allow you to chip away at your medical debt in a series of regular payments. However, you need good credit to qualify for loans with more attractive rates, APR, and terms. If you have bad credit, good loans are still out there but the money you pay in interest and fees could significantly increase your overall medical expenses.
Looking for a personal loan or other options for loans for an elective procedure? Consider LightStream, an online lender that offers competitive interest rates on loans and has few additional fees. Pay attention to the origination fee in addition to other details to make sure you’re getting a good deal on your loan.
You can also shop around for loans with other personal lenders like SoFi, Upgrade, and others. Click here for 9 alternatives for personal loans.
Shop around for other personal lenders:
4. Borrow from your 401(k)
It’s not usually a good idea to withdraw money from your 401(k) account early. If you do, you have to pay a 10% penalty, and the IRS considers your withdrawal to be taxable income just like other bank loans. However, qualifying hardships (including some medical expenses, like plastic surgery financing) give you early access to your 401(k) account. You may be able to tap into your 401(k) without a penalty if your cosmetic surgery is to correct a disfigurement due to disease, an accident, or a genetic abnormality.
But this option comes with risks. If you can’t repay the money you borrowed, it is still treated as an early withdrawal. As a result, you’d still have to pay tax on it, as well as the 10% penalty.
5. Take out a home equity loan
If you own your home and have accumulated equity, you can take out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) for your plastic surgery financing. Because these loans use the equity in your home as collateral, they offer lower interest rates than you could find with a personal loan or credit cards. However, this option comes with risk. Because home equity loans and HELOCs use your home as collateral, you risk losing your home if you fail to pay your debt on time.
Make sure to check the associated fees, like the origination fee and early payment fees, before you sign on the dotted line.
Compare HELOCs to find the right option:
6. Approach the plastic surgeon’s office for payment plans for your procedure
Depending on the cosmetic procedure you want done, different plastic surgeons or the offices they work through may be able to offer payment plans to pay for your procedure. These payment plans usually work like a bank account with the surgeon. You make payments into your account with the office to the plastic surgeons in advance of your procedure .
The details differ from place to place. Essentially, once you’ve funded the account with enough money, the plastic surgeon can perform your surgeries and you won’t owe on the back end. This is a good option since you’ll get to make monthly payments. However, these payment options require you to plan far enough in advance to fund the account. It’s like credit with the healthcare providers office.
Your cost and credit limits will be up to the office.
Can you finance plastic surgery with bad credit?
Even if you have bad credit, there is still hope. Some doctors will work with you to set up a payment plan that’s within your budget. You should ask about this before exploring other options.
However, most medical professionals require payment upfront. You’ll probably need to find a credit card or personal loan that meets your needs.
If your credit score is 580 or higher, you can apply for a personal loan through Avant. If approved, you’ll receive funds in just a few business days. There is a loan origination fee, but no prepayment fee.
If your credit score is over 640 and you want to apply for a credit card, check out the Chase Freedom Unlimited SM. This cashback rewards card 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.
Even if you think you won’t qualify for a personal loan, you should apply anyway. The online lending marketplace has grown exponentially in the past decade, and lenders’ requirements are more lenient than ever before. To find out what you qualify for, check out SuperMoney’s personal loan engine. Just answer a few questions and in minutes, you’ll receive offers from online lenders. Fortunately, prequalifying for loans won’t hurt your credit score.
Looking to finance elective plastic surgery? You’ve got options.
First, ask your doctor if they’re willing to set up a payment plan. If they need payment up front, compare personal loans and check out credit card offerings. If you own your own home, consider a HELOC or a home equity loan. Compare the rates and terms of each potential financing method to find the right one for your situation.