After you’ve made the decision to invest in plastic surgery, the next big consideration is how you’ll be paying for it. Surgical procedures can be expensive and typically insurance companies won’t chip in – leaving a patient to consider other payment options like credit card financing, bank loans or using cash. The best way to pay for a beauty brush up may depend on a few factors.
To Finance or Not to Finance
Plastic surgery is big business. Last year, Americans spent more than $15 billion on cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. The top two most popular procedures – liposuction and breast augmentation – stretch into the thousands of dollars. Figuring out how to pay for a procedure can be confusing, that’s why consulting your plastic surgeon’s finance office is always a good first step. Consumers may find their surgeon offers ‘in-office’ financing. “We offer financing through the practice and I think it’s an important option,” says board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tiffany McCormack.
McCormack works with patients who want to or are forced to pay off the procedure, gradually. She says she wants to offer her clients the option of financing, but always lets a patient know the full cost of the surgery, including any interest charges. “We have always offered financing.” Experts say this could be a good option for some patients with limited funds.
Are Credit Cards A Good Option?
One of the newest options for paying for cosmetic surgery is the medical credit card – which only covers medical expenses. A patient could also use a regular credit card. Experts say beware of some of these payment methods because it can be fairly simple to get overextended financially. Pay attention to interest rates and finance charges, which can be high unless there are certain breaks offered to patients with a good credit history.
Some patients may opt for a plastic surgeon that deals in a cash only policy, for several reasons. “We feel like when a patient has saved the money and is ready to do the surgery, then that’s the right time,” says Dr. Jason Cooper, a board certified plastic surgeon in Florida. Dr. Cooper thinks paying cash for cosmetic procedures and having a budget makes the most sense. “Often times when people finance a surgery or take on more than they can handle, it can lead to a less optimized outcome and we don’t want that.”
Have a Beauty Budget
It’s a good idea in every other facet of life and the same is true in plastic surgery – begin with a budget when planning your plastic surgery. “We do try to counsel our patients to figure out what budget they are working on,” says Dr. Kevin Smith. Smith, a board certified plastic surgeon in Charlotte, North Carolina, says it’s important for a patient to makes choices when money is tight. “I think there’s a difference – rather than doing a blue plate collection of surgeries, it’s about prioritizing a patient’s needs.”
Budget or not, that doesn’t mean sacrificing results. Smith says sometimes it’s just about shifting gears, not downsizing expectations when a patient needs to scale back. “If a patient with a limited budget comes to me for facial rejuvenation, perhaps they can’t afford a full facelift, but perhaps we can do a smaller cost, lesser downtime procedure like eyelid surgery and that will work to put it all together.”
Experts say treat plastic surgery like a major purchase – explore all your options and plan ahead, including the selection of your surgeon. It’s important to know what payment option your surgeon may or may not accept.