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Patient Financing: What are my options?

Are you interested in a cosmetic procedure?  Do you have the funds to afford to pay the full out of pocket cost for that procedure?  If not and are considering a finance option, you are not alone.   Most patients investigate financing options when considering cosmetic procedures, whether it be injectables or a tummy tuck. To help you in your search, read on to get some insight in the search for the right financing option and things you may not know to keep an eye out for when doing your research.

One of the first things you may be wondering is where to start?  Like most of us, Google is typically where to start your research.  Another way is to check directly with your surgeon to see what they may offer.  Almost all plastic surgeons offer financing options for their patients, and you can decide which one is right for you.  Check out your surgeon’s webpage or give them a call to inquire on what financing options they accept and offer.  If you have not selected a surgeon yet, then you will want to search out the different programs that are out there.  There are so many different types of financing options, from medical credit cards like Care Credit and Alphaeon, to direct medical loans like Prosper Healthcare and Lending USA.  If you see an incredible promotion from one of these companies, you can search their websites for plastic surgeons in your area that accept that financing option.

Figuring out which option is the best fit takes a little time and research.  Care Credit for example, is a medical credit card.  You can only use it for medical related expenses.  Cosmetic procedures, dental, even veterinary costs can be covered by Care Credit.  They offer a variety of different payment options, even no interest options if paid within a certain time frame.  One thing to beware of when selecting a no interest plan with Care Credit for example, is to read the fine print. If you select 12 months with no interest and don’t pay the total amount in the 12-month period, they will still allow you to continue to make payments, however, right at the 13 month mark you will be hit with interest payments.  It will be interest for the entire amount borrowed, not just the remaining balance, so keep that in mind when deciding to select a no interest plan.  Typically, that interest rate is around 27%, where if you had selected a longer plan with interest, it might be about 9%.

Other options might be a loan or medical financing that works more like a loan than a credit card.  There are ones that have 0% interest for patients with exceptional credit.  You can even check with your bank and see what you might qualify for in terms of interest and loan lengths.  If you search for a medical loan, be sure that it is a loan you can take anywhere you want if you have not selected a provider yet. In other words, if you are approved you are not held to that surgeon that you applied through.  Some of these companies will approve you with lower credit scores and give you longer payment terms in order to ensure that you can make the loan payments.  These are great to help rebuild credit as well, but there are often higher interest rates that go along with these.  Rates vary so check several before deciding.  You can also now find some that will not do a credit pull on your credit.  PatientFi for example is one that does not pull your credit (so it will not affect your credit score) and gives you break down of your payments.  They also work with Allergan, one of the largest distributors of implants, so you get a discount on your implants and even can a free Botox treatment.  However, PatientFi is something that your surgeon must accept, just like CareCredit.  You can search out surgeons who accept PatientFi on their website.

You can always discuss with your plastic surgeon if their office does any in-house financing, but to be honest, that is very unlikely.  It never hurts to ask.  There are new options that would create “clubs” for patients to be able to deposit monthly payments into an account to start paying for surgery ahead of time, there is no interest involved and you can use that money for surgery, fillers, in office procedures, skin care, and basically anything you choose.  This will be offered by a company called HintMD.  Watch out for that if this appeals to you!

Very few HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts) will allow you to use your funds for cosmetic surgery, however, there are some.  You would need to speak with your HR department or call your HSA provider directly and determine their rules/restrictions.  Some companies require receipts for everything you spend.  If it will not cover the actual surgery, see if it covers other things like pre-op testing (often done in the hospital or facility your surgery is taking place in), medications, and any supplies you may need.

A zero interest major credit card might be the best option in some cases.  Finding a Visa or Mastercard that has a no interest promotion and then charging the surgery and paying on it as much as possible to pay it off at no interest can be the best scenario for some people.  Check the promotion, you may get lucky and only be charged interest for what is left at the end of the promotion.

Whichever direction you decide to go, make sure you always read the fine print.  Know your interest rates, what will be charged to you, and for how long.  Put the time in researching what option is best to you and if you feel lost try some of the social media groups for plastic or cosmetic surgery in your area and see what others have to say about the financing options they went with.  Call your plastic surgeon’s office with questions. If they offer the financing option, they will be able to help you with all of your questions.

It can all be overwhelming, just know that there are tools to help you make these decisions. Make sure you decide what is best for you and your situation.  You should not put yourself in debt that you cannot afford for a cosmetic procedure.  You will know if you can swing an extra payment a month so be honest with yourself when deciding on financing.  We all deserve to feel and look beautiful, and it should leave you better, not worse.  Be smart and be good to yourself!

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