How to Self-Pay for Bariatric Surgery




Self-Pay for Bariatric surgery

No Bariatric Surgery Insurance Coverage

We all know the health benefits of losing weight and bariatric surgery. Unfortunately not every health insurance policy has bariatric surgery coverage.

It is also true that some patients that have bariatric surgery coverage on their health insurance policy will prefer to self-pay for bariatric surgery to skip the insurance requirements and go straight to surgery.

Unfortunately, self-pay bariatric surgery in the United States of America doesn’t come cheap.  Bariatric surgery can cost between 15-25 thousand dollars. The range is highly dependent on the procedure and the area.

In this post, we are going to give you several ways or alternatives that you can use to self-pay for bariatric surgery or any other type of surgery that your medical insurance will not cover.


Option #1: Savings Account

Many financial “Gurus” advocate for a 3-6 months emergency fund. This money should be easily accessible in a savings account or a higher interest money market account.

We are not suggesting that you completely deplete your emergency fund, but if you are fortunate enough to have 6 or more months of savings you can use some of that money to cover the surgery.

Unfortunately in the USA, most people can’t even cover a one thousand dollar emergency imagine a 25 thousand dollar elective surgery. If that is you then keep reading because you might benefit from one or more of the other options.

Option #2: Retirement Accounts Loans

Many Americans have funds on a qualify retirement account like a 401K, 403B or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Some of these plans will offer loans against the vested funds.

If you have an employer retirement account contact your human resources office to see if a loan is an option for you and if so how much money can you get? Also, ask about the interest rate for repayment and fees for processing the loan.

In the case of an IRA, you need to contact the brokerage firm and see if a loan is an option for you.

A disadvantage of a retirement account loan is the higher cost. Not only you will pay interest and fees but you will also pay in opportunity cost. Because the money that you lent is not invested anymore you are missing out on the growth of the money via dividends and/or market fluctuation.

If you go this route the key is to pay back this loan as fast as possible so the money can go back to work for you.

Do not withdraw the money from the retirement account especially if it is before retirement age. You will have to pay taxes and/or penalty fees that can be as high as 30 percent. 

Another bad situation could be if you lose or leave your job before the loan is paid off. That can trigger fees, taxes and/or you will be forced to pay the loan earlier. Please consult all this with your retirement plan office or brokerage. 

Option #3: Life Insurance Policy Loans

Many life insurance policies have a cash value and they usually allow loans against a percentage of that cash value.  Whole life insurance policies work differently than a Variable Universal Life or and Index Life Insurance policy. So consult your insurance agent or financial advisor to see how much money can you lend and what are the repayment fees, interest and other parameters of the loan.

Life insurance loans in a whole life policy, for example, offer several advantages.

  • Quick access to the cash.
  • No loss in opportunity cost because the money still invested. You get a loan with the cash value as collateral.
  • Usually low interest.
  • No repayment schedule. 

Again consult with your financial advisor or insurance agent before considering this option.  

Option #4: Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are very powerful accounts and/or investment vehicles. If you qualify for an HSA we will encourage you to open one and fully fund it every year. 

In order to fund an account, you need to have high deductible health insurance. A simple google search can give you all the information you need about the requirements for funding an HSA. 

Health savings accounts contributions are pretax, investments grow are also tax-free and if the money is used for medical expenses it is also withdrawn tax-free. 

HSA contributions roll over year over year versus a Flexible Spending Accounts that you have to use the money every year. 

Option #5: Home Equity Line of Credit

If you own real estate and you have equity on that property then a home equity line of credit is a viable option.

Lines of credit can be easy to obtained and are offered by many bank institutions. Some private money lenders might be whiling to lend you money with your equity as collateral.

You need to remember that this is a loan against the real estate property. Failure to pay the loan back can result in foreclosure of the property.

We don’t advise this 0ption unless you are certain that you will be able to pay back the loan or if this is your only option to pay the medical bill. 

Option #6: Credit Cards

A low or zero interest credit card can be a reasonable option for some patients. You can either cover the entire bill or combine it with some of the other options. 

Remember that many credit cards have very high-interest rates after the introductory rate and this can cost you a lot of money over the long term. Also during the introductory period, you cant pay late or the rate will go up, canceling the introductory period prematurely. 

Option #7: Medical Loans

Companies like Care Credit and Prosper Healthcare Lending are just a couple of many companies that provide medical loans at low-interest rates and easy repayment plans.

Care Credit works more like a credit card that can only be use for qualify medical expenses. Prosper is more like a regular loan.

Both have a very easy application process online and loans can be approved in a very short amount of time. You can obtain loans up to 35 thousand and they can be finance up to 60 months. 


Option #8: Crowd Funding

If you can’t come up with the funding on your own and you have a very moving story then crowdfunding can be the way to go for you. We personally know of several cases where patients’ surgeries were completely funded through GoFundMe.

Currently, there are many crowdfunding sites that can help you accomplish this. You might need to put some effort into the campaign in order to convince strangers of why you need the surgery and why they should help you pay for it.

This approach is also very good for accountability. Imagine if 1,000 strangers donated money to put you through surgery and then you don’t put any effort into the weight loss process. You are going to disappoint a lot of people.

Also, you are gonna have to open up your personal life and struggles to the world in order to get people to donate to your campaign. Why is this important you may ask?

Well, weight loss surgery is a mental endeavor. One of the most important parts in my opinion is to embrace how you are and how you got to were you are. That is the first key step in weight loss surgery success.  In order to make a change, you need to know what to change. 


How to self-pay for bariatric surgery


Hopefully, this short article helped you figure out how you can afford weight-loss surgery or any other surgical procedure that you need. I think the key is not to say I CANT afford the surgery. The key is to say how CAN I afford the surgery. Look for options and alternatives. Think outside the box and get the job done.

If you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will try my best to help you further.

You can also call the Dr. Caban office to the number below.  The bariatric coordinator can help you with any of your questions or concerns.

Dr. Angel M. Caban is a Fellowship Trained Bariatric Surgeon from a well-established institution.  He has the training and experience to care for the most complex bariatric cases. He is the Bariatric Program Director at Ocala Health Bariatric Center of Excellence. His outcomes are remarkable and patient satisfaction in his practice is outstanding. If you are considering bariatric surgery do your homework, find a bariatric surgeon in your community that is Board Certified in General Surgery and Fellowship Trained in Bariatric Surgery. You also want your surgery done at a Center of Excellence and look at their outcomes.

Please feel free to comment below or share the post with family or friends that are considering bariatric surgery or that will benefit from the information.

You can also call our office at (352) 291-0239 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. We can answer any questions or we can help you get started on your weight loss surgery journey.