How To Pay For Bariatric Surgery Without Insurance?
Patients who have an important medical reason to lose weight are sometimes asked to consider bariatric surgery. If your doctor has recommended this type of procedure you may be wondering what costs are involved and how to finance them.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some common stomach surgeries and how you can pay for them using bariatric surgery loans.
The Cost Of Bariatric Procedures
Stomach surgery for the purposes of extreme weight loss is a broad medical category. Before you can estimate the approximate cost of your procedure you’ll need to find out exactly which type of operation your surgeon intends to perform.
Below you’ll find a list of some common bariatric procedures along with their approximate cost.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy ($4,000-$18,000): This procedure removes 70%-80% of the stomach and can result in dramatic weight loss while improving the patient’s health and quality of life. A number of small incisions are made in the stomach while under anaesthesia
- Adjustable Gastric Band ($10,000-$20,000): Also known as a laparoscopic band (or lap band), this procedure is recommended for patients with a BMI of 30-40. The band squeezes the stomach, thereby reducing food capacity and encouraging weight loss
- Gastric Bypass ($15,000-$25,000): This operation divides the stomach into two sections and bypasses the larger part by connecting the smaller part to the small intestine. A major reduction in both appetite and weight can be expected once the surgery is complete
- Biliopancreatic diversion ($20,000-$30,000): This is an enhanced version of the gastric bypass that makes the stomach smaller and also bypasses a section of the small intestine to reduce food absorption. This surgery is usually recommended in extreme cases of obesity
It’s important to note that the estimates above illustrate the average cost of bariatric surgery in the US. The amount you’ll actually pay will be determined by your location, the fees charged by your surgeon and hospital, and what type of medical insurance you have - if any.
Funding Options For Uninsured Patients
If you don’t currently have health insurance, you’ll need to budget for the total cost of the surgery you require. There are several lending products that can help you pay for it.
These unsecured personal loans typically don’t require any collateral and with loan amounts as high as tens of thousands of dollars, you should be able to use one to finance your procedure if you meet the income requirements and other eligibility criteria.
- The large range of lenders in the medical loans market means that you’ll have a number of options to choose from when you select your lender. It’s worth noting that customers with weaker credit may pay higher APRs than customers with pristine credit records
- When you apply, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity, income, and monthly expenses. Your loan provider will use this information to determine whether you’re a good candidate for their financing products and what kind of APR they are willing to offer you
Medical Credit Cards
Medical credit cards can only be used to pay for healthcare related expenses. They often are accompanied by the benefit of competitive APRs and - in some cases - an initial interest free period.
- An introductory 0% APR can be extremely useful when it comes to financing medical bills. Many cards offer this type of incentive over the first year to 18 months after your application is approved. If you use this time to pay down your medical debt completely, you can save a significant amount on interest payments
If you’re a homeowner and have paid down your mortgage to a significant extent, you may want to consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as an alternative form of medical financing.
- This type of lending product is similar to a credit card in the sense that you can borrow against your credit limit as needed during the initial draw period. After this time has expired, you’ll need to repay the amount you owe just like a credit card or personal loan
- HELOCs may come with lower APRs than some loans and credit cards, but it’s important to note that the money you borrow will be secured by the portion of your mortgage you’ve already paid. If you default on the loan, you run the risk of foreclosure
Alternative Funding Options
If your financing application is unsuccessful or you’d prefer to explore other options to pay for your procedure, there are several alternatives you’ll want to consider.
- Provider financing: Your bariatric surgeon may be willing to offer you a repayment plan over the course of several months or even a year. The payments you’ll make will probably be interest free but you’ll want to make sure that you don’t skip any because your account could be handed over for collection
- Contact your local medical school: If you’re willing to be operated on by senior students and academics at your local university’s medical school, you could save a significant amount in surgical fees
Bariatric surgery can be life-changing for patients who are required to lose a significant amount of weight for health reasons. Despite the cost of some bariatric procedures, it’s more than possible to finance this type of treatment using one of the options listed above. Still, as a borrower you’ll want to do your research and secure the most affordable product based on your income, credit score, and other relevant eligibility factors.