Financing for Bariatric Surgery
There are several ways to pay for bariatric surgery and financing the procedure is a viable option for some. Financing plans may originate from various sources. They are most often arranged through a third-party vendor that has contracted with the surgeon or surgery center to offer a specific plan for bariatric surgery patients. Financing, however, most often comes with interest rates that can vary widely between providers, and with penalty interest which can be onerous in the case of missed payments or default on loans.
Hospital and/or Surgery Center Financing:
Many hospitals will work with patients to finance their bariatric surgery procedure, much in the way that a third-party would. While direct hospital financing is not as common as special cash pay pricing, it is worth speaking to the hospital’s billing coordinator to understand the financing options available to the patient.
Third-party financing such as Care Credit or BlissPay is usually administered by a financing company or bank and may offer preferential initial rates which then revert to regular interest rates later on in the term of the loan. It is important to understand the terms and conditions of the loan. Some programs may default to very high interest rates after the initial term. Further, interest may accrue during the initial no interest period and be added to the principal later. Patients should be aware that if they miss a payment or default on their loan, their credit could be adversely affected which will influence other financing transactions including home and car loans.
Credit cards are sometimes used to finance bariatric surgery procedures. Credit cards often have variable interest rates and can be risky when used for long-term financing.
Finally, patients may choose to use a secured loan such as a home equity loan in order to finance their procedure. It is important that they understand that a default can mean the forfeiture of the collateralized property.
While bariatric surgery has incredible health and even financial benefits, financing options should be evaluated thoroughly and chosen carefully. Spending the time to evaluate payment options and determine which is best will save time, money and aggravation. You can also learn more about the costs of obesity and possible cost savings after bariatric surgery.