The RealSelf Guide to Plastic Surgery Financing — Your Top 6 Questions Answered
1 Jan 2015 at 5:00pm
For a lot of us, the beginning of a new year brings with it a long list of resolutions to get healthier, look better, and transform our lives on the whole. For many of the community members on RealSelf, this also may include a plastic surgery procedure to aid them on their journey towards confidence.
Unfortunately, even if you've finally made up your mind about getting a procedure, there's always the question of finances. Your dreams may be sky-high, but it's possible your bank account is slightly too low to casually shell out Benjamins on breast implants. (The average cost is $6,000.) Well, before you throw in the towel, know that you do have options when it comes to getting money for your procedure.
Like any major monetary decision, choosing to finance your plastic surgery should be carefully considered, which means it’s time to ask some important questions. How does financing work? Can you qualify if you have bad credit? Which companies are most trusted by plastic surgeons?
RealSelf has you covered with answers to all of these questions and more, so keep on reading!
How Much Does Plastic Surgery Cost?The cost of any given plastic surgery procedure changes from doctor to doctor, but we've aggregated a list of common procedures and their average costs so that you have an easy frame of reference.
Breast augmentation (94% Worth It Rating): $6,450
Botox (69% Worth It Rating): $500
Cosmetic dentistry: $300-$9,500 (depending on procedure)
Facelift (89% Worth It Rating): $10,900
Fillers: $700-$3,000+ (depending on the type of filler)
Laser hair removal (71% Worth It Rating): $1,050
Liposuction (80% Worth It Rating): $5,975
Microdermabrasion (58% Worth It Rating): $175
Rhinoplasty (84% Worth It Rating): $6,900
Weight loss surgery: $8,500-$42,000 (depending on the type of surgery)
How Does Financing Work?Think about applying for plastic surgery financing just like you'd apply for a new car or a mortgage. The financing company will ask for personal information such as your name, address, birthdate, and — most importantly — your social security number, which will allow them to run a credit check. Assuming you have good credit, you should be approved on the spot. Most reputable financing companies can be used to pay for all kinds of procedures, from rhinoplasty to Botox. They’ll cover the costs up front so you can spend your time preparing for surgery and recovering once it’s over.
You're probably wondering how these companies make money while forking over big bucks for your surgery. One word: interest. While it's possible to find companies with no-interest and deferred-interest options (such as CareCredit), most companies expect you to pay a fee on top of your minimum monthly payment. This is where things get tricky. If you don't stay on top of those payments, your interest will definitely rack up, so buyer beware
What Does Financing Pay For?Every company has different parameters for what they're willing to cover. (For example, CareCredit will pay for you and your entire family's Botox, but it won't pay for makeup.) Generally speaking, you can expect standard cosmetic, elective, and dermatological treatments to be covered. Most companies pay for the following procedures and then some: fillers, weight loss surgery, cosmetic dentistry, laser hair removal, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, Botox, and microdermabrasion.
What Are the Pros and Cons?The pros of plastic surgery financing usually outweigh the cons — as long as you're financially responsible. Financing offers many patients a manageable way to achieve the beauty objective they otherwise couldn't afford. What sounds better: Paying $10,000 upfront for a facelift, or paying $200 a month (plus interest) over the course of four years?
There are, of course, some cons — namely that a lot can change during four years. If you suddenly find yourself unable to pay your minimum monthly balance, you could rack up fees and get way in over your head. Just like with credit cards and home loans, failed payments could also negatively impact your credit score, making it harder to get loans in the future.
"The biggest downside is choosing the wrong surgeon and having done a really poor loan that will take many years to pay off," says Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Moises Salama. "Have you found the most reputable surgeon for the desired procedure? And have you explored all the financing alternatives?"
What Happens If I Have Bad Credit?
Unfortunately, having bad credit isn't ideal in the world of plastic surgery financing. Companies want to see that you're able to make payments in a timely manner, and will judge your ability to do so based on your credit score. So, what qualifies as bad credit? It depends on which company you're dealing with, but "fair credit" is usually considered 620 and above. To note, one RealSelf community member was denied CareCredit with a score of 569.
Of course, some companies will still offer financing if you have bad credit. "Depending on what terms they provide, there are viable solutions and resources for these patients to have surgery and peace of mind that their financing will not be overwhelming," Dr. Salama explains. Just remember, you'll likely be slammed with a sky-high interest rate if you have bad credit — definitely something to consider before taking out a loan!
Some patients who have worried about getting approved for all the money they need have attempted to apply for half the money at two different companies. While there's a chance this plan can work, you should know that it's not likely. Your credit score will drop a bit when you apply for your first loan, making it harder to be approved for the second. This is done to protect you from digging yourself into financial hole that you can't get out of, and to protect the banks from taking a hit.
If you have bad credit, consider finding a co-signer. Some companies will let you apply for financing with a joint applicant. If you can find a friend or family member with good credit who's willing to do you a solid, then you might be in luck.
RELATED: Plastic Surgery Financing: What Are Some Reputable Lenders?
Which Companies Should I Look At?Take your time when researching the right plastic surgery financing company. Ask friends and family for referrals, study online user reviews, and above all else, pick a company that isn't taking you to the cleaners with interest. It might sound great only paying $350/month for your $10,000 surgery, but you don't want to come out the other side actually having paid close to $20,000 thanks to through-the-roof interest rates.
North Carolina plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law further advises, “Make an honest assessment of your ability to meet the terms of the contract. Look into whether or not you can obtain better financing terms with an existing credit card account or with the bank with which you have a personal banking relationship and a credit history.”
For those looking to finance their treatments, there are plenty of good options to choose from — just make sure your doctor’s office accepts them first! As with finding a surgeon, always make sure you do your due diligence on the company before proceeding.
RealSelf users and doctors alike have had great experiences with CareCredit, CosmetiCredit, MedLoanFinance, and SurgeryLoans.com. You can also go the route of selecting a doctor first, then asking him or her for a recommendation when it comes to financing.
Have you ever gotten a cosmetic procedure financed? How did it work for you? Share your story in the comments!
Photo credits: Some rights reserved by Dr. Braun; Some rights reserved by JM Rosenfeld; Courtesy of Your Credit Score via Barnes and Noble