Looking to have an elective health care procedure (like plastic surgery, LASIK or other vision correction, or IVF that’s not covered by insurance), but your bank account doesn’t have the balance to cover it? You don’t have to give up. For those who are motivated, there are many financing options for procedures like these. Here are 10 possibilities to look into.
#10 Loan From Your 401(k)
All that money you’ve been saving for retirement? When you’re decades from retiring, it can feel like letting it just sit there is a waste. You’re allowed to borrow from your own 401(k), as long as you pay it back within a reasonable amount of time. Usually, the repayments will be automatically deducted from your paycheck and added back into your retirement account. If you have a lot of retirement savings and you’re confident about being able to pay it back, this could be a good option. If you don’t pay it back in time, the penalties are pretty steep.
#9 Home Equity Loans
If you own your home and you have a significant amount of equity in it, you may be eligible for a home equity loan. There are usually no restrictions on what you can do with the money. However, you need to pay the loan back or the bank can repossess your home, so make sure you don’t borrow more than you can actually afford. You don’t want to risk losing your home.
#8 Loans From Family and Friends
Your family and friends want the best for you, and they may be willing to help you get the procedure you desire. If you have a friend or family member with enough financial resources, you could ask for a loan to get your procedure. However, remember that your relationship with this person is your collateral. If you can’t pay the loan back as mutually agreed on, then you could lose relationships that are important to you.
Maybe you already have the savings. But even if you don’t, you could start saving toward your procedure. Set up a special account, and deposit a minimum amount each month (or week) into that account, until you have the amount you need for your procedure. Once you’ve got the amount you need and you’ve had your procedure, you’ll be in the habit of saving. If you keep saving that amount, you could be able to afford your dream vacation, your next car, or save for retirement. It’s empowering to realize how much money you can save when it’s important to you.
Rather than a loan from a friend or family member, you can ask for many small gifts, that add up to enough for you to get your procedure. Sites such as gofundme.com are perfect for this purpose. You could ask for donations to your procedure fund in lieu of holiday or birthday gifts that people might usually get you. You could also just put it out there on your social media. For instance, your friends might be so proud of you for losing weight, they’d love to help pay for your body lift to remove that excess saggy skin. You’d be surprised how fast $20 donations add up!
#5 Personal Loans
Many banks offer personal loans. There are no restrictions on how you can use this money. The bank may require some form of collateral (for instance, your car), which they keep if you fail to pay back your loan according to the terms of your agreement. Or there may be steep financial penalties for missing payments. So make sure you understand the terms of your loan, and that you’ll be able to pay it back.
#4 Credit Cards
If you’re like most people, you already have at least one credit card. You can use an existing account to charge your procedure, or you can get a new credit card to charge it on. Sometimes, a new account can have an attractive introductory interest rate; if you can pay back the balance before the interest rate goes up, then you can get a great deal. Once your procedure is paid off, you’ll still have the account for later use. Make sure you understand the terms, however, so you don’t end up owing lots of interest later. Don’t use a card with an APR (annual percentage interest rate) higher than 10%.
#3 Medical Loans
Medical loans are much like personal loans, but banks offer them specifically for medical expenses. You can seek one from your own bank, or you can approach a different bank that offers this type of loan. Sites like mymedicalloans.com can help you find the right bank. The terms may vary depending on factors like your credit, which bank you use, and the horizon (how long you take to pay it off), so make sure you’re clear on exactly what you’re getting before you sign the paperwork.
#2 Medical Credit Cards
The nice thing about a medical credit card is that it can only be used for medical expenses. Many people struggle with credit card debt, and the idea of having another credit card around to rack up debt on makes them nervous. Because a medical credit card is restricted solely to medical expenses, you won’t be tempted to use it for other things. However, make sure you pay it off as quickly as you can, because that attractive introductory interest rate likely only lasts for a few months.
And the winner is…….
#1 Your Doctor
That’s right, most doctors offer financing plans to their patients. It’s thought that orthodontists started this trend, helping to turn braces from a luxury of the wealthy into a rite of passage for American teens. Now, most doctors offices that offer elective health procedures also offer financing plans for their patients. They work with you to develop a plan in which you make monthly payments of an amount that seems within reach to you. Sometimes, you might not be able to have your procedure until after you’ve paid for it; other times, you can go ahead and get what you desire, so you can enjoy it while paying.
For more on your options for financing your procedure, check out our extensive resources.