If you’ve been struggling with your weight for a while now, you may be considering weight loss surgery. It’s major surgery, so you shouldn’t go into it lightly. Beyond the health risks that come with this type of surgery is the cost. One major hurdle is how to afford weight loss surgery. Here are some options that might help you find a way to pay for it.
How to Afford Weight Loss Surgery
Depending on where you live and what type of surgery you plan on having you can expect to pay anywhere from $17,000 dollars to $26,000 dollars for your surgery.
But take heart, if you want bariatric surgery bad enough you can find a way to have it done.
Here are a number of ways you can get your bariatric procedure paid for.
1. Health Insurance
Depending on your situation, your insurance company may pay for your surgery.
Oftentimes, patients will be denied once or twice before they finally get the go-ahead, so don’t give up after the first time.
If your doctor can show that the surgery is medically necessary, in the end, your insurance company will pay for it.
The average amount that most insurance pays for the different type of procedures is $21,500 dollars.
Most bariatric surgeons have a lot of experience in dealing with insurance companies, so they do know what needs to be done to get your insurance coverage to pay for it.
Keep in mind that you will need to meet certain requirements before your insurance will pay for your weight loss procedure.
This includes the following:
- A BMI of over 35 as well as obesity-related health issues
- A BMI of over 40 without obesity-related health issues
2. A Secured Medical Loan
If you don’t have insurance or you can’t get approved then there are other options.
One is a secured medical loan.
A secured loan means you will have to have collateral.
This could be a car or more likely your home.
Be careful here.
If you can’t make the payments you could lose your home.
The upside is you will usually have up to 10 years to pay back the loan.
You can get this type of loan at your credit union or bank.
But a better option is to look for an unsecured loan such as a personal loan.
3. Personal Loans
If you have good to great credit, you should be approved for a personal loan.
This is a way to get your surgery without insurance.
Also, personal loans are unsecured, so you don’t have to worry about putting up your house or some other asset.
The only downside is that the interest rate will be higher.
Even so, the interest rates are lower than credit cards.
You will typically have 2 to 4 years to pay the loan back.
4. Hospital Payment Plan
Some hospitals do have payment plans for obesity surgery.
The interest rates are normally low and you will have months to years to pay off the loan.
The hospital billing department will be able to tell you what payment plans are available if any.
5. 401(k) Loan
With this type of loan, you are borrowing money from yourself.
You’ll make monthly payments back into your 401K.
You should be able to borrow up to $50,000 dollars or 50 percent of your vested account balance whichever is less.
There can be maintenance fees and setup fees.
Keep in mind, this will stunt the growth of your retirement account and you may have less money to retire on when the time comes.
Also, if you lose your job or leave you will need to pay back the loan by the due date on your tax return.
If you don’t, there could be penalties and taxes on what you borrowed.
Chances are your doctor can help you apply to CareCredit.
This is like a credit card but unlike regular credit cards, it can only be used for medical purposes.
You should get approval in minutes, and then once you have your procedure, you will get a monthly bill just like a credit card.
Once you pay down your balance, you can use this card for other medical procedures that you may need down the road.
With this card, you may have a period where you don’t have to pay any interest or low interest, after that the interest rates go up.
Also, if you miss a payment, your interest rates can rise.
Repayment terms are 24 months or less, but if you pay off the debt within the promotional period there is zero interest.
This is a good way to pay for health care costs if you don’t have insurance and can pay the balance off quickly.
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7. Surgery Grants
There are actually weight loss surgery grants that will pay for your surgery completely.
One that is currently available is through the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA.)
There are three requirements that you must meet to be approved for this grant.
You need to have been approved for weight loss surgery
You need to raise 10 percent of the funds needed for the surgery by donating your time and resources to the organization.
You must not have insurance or have been denied by your insurance company.
8. Charity Care
If your income is below the federal poverty level you might qualify for free surgery.
The surgery will need to be for health conditions and not cosmetic.
Ask your local hospital if they are part of this plan.
If they don’t check with others.
You will need to fill out an application and provide proof of income.
Even if you are denied, oftentimes, the hospital will try to work with you and reduce the cost of the surgery.
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To Sum it All Up:
There are ways to pay for your surgery even if you don’t have health insurance coverage or a health savings account. From a weight loss surgery grant to a personal loan or even CareCredit as they say when there is a will there’s a way.