Feeling comfortable and confident in how you look can be a big boost to self-esteem. In some cases, breast implants help women feel better about their appearance. Women get breast implants for a variety of reasons. They may feel uncomfortable with their current breast size and shape, they may experience sagging from weight loss or aging, or they may be transgender women in the process of transition.
Health insurance will only pay for breast implants in specific circumstances, though, so many women seek alternative financing to pay for their surgery, which can cost $5,000 to $10,000.
Using Health Insurance Benefits
Typically, health insurance will only cover breast implants if they are needed for reconstruction due to an accident or illness. Some women who have had mastectomies, for example, may have breast reconstruction surgery that involves breast implants. Since this is viewed as being medically necessary, many health insurance plans will cover it. It is important to verify your insurance coverage before moving forward with any procedure, though.
Health insurance may also cover breast implants when they are related to gender transition. Medicare will cover surgeries related to gender transition, and some state Medicaid plans will as well. This coverage varies widely, though, so it’s important to talk to your health insurance company about their options.
Paying With Credit Cards
If your breast implant surgery is not covered by health insurance, one option is applying for a medical credit card. These credit cards work like traditional credit cards but can only be used for medical costs. Some companies allow you to use them for dental and veterinary costs as well.
These cards sometimes offer financing plans, giving you time to pay down your balance before you start getting charged interest. Make sure to read the terms of your medical credit card carefully to minimize the interest you pay.
If you have a traditional credit card with good terms and a higher limit, you can also use it to pay for your surgery. Try to use a card with a low interest rate to lower your overall costs. Keep in mind that your credit card utilization impacts your credit score, so if the surgery uses your entire credit line, it could hurt your score until you pay it down.
Taking Advantage of Loans
Personal loans, 401(k) loans and home equity loans may also be an option. Personal loans are unsecured loans that are based on your credit score and history. If you have a low credit score, you may be able to have someone co-sign with you. If you default on the loan, though, the co-signer becomes responsible for paying off the loan.
If you participate in a 401(k) with your employer, you may be able to take out a loan. These loans need to be repaid within five years. If you don’t repay the loan, the loan amount becomes taxable income. Your plan may not allow you to contribute to your 401(k) while you’re repaying the loan, which can set back your retirement.
If you are a homeowner, you may qualify for a home equity loan, which will usually have a low interest rate because it's secured by your home. These loans are based on the equity in your house, which is the difference between the value of your home and the amount of your mortgage. If your house is worth $200,000 and your mortgage balance is $100,000, for example, you would have $100,000 in equity. If you have trouble paying back the loan, though, the lender could seize your home.
Other Financing Options
If you have the cash on hand, paying for the surgery directly is the lowest-cost option. If you don’t, some medical practices offer their own financing plans. Most surgeons require that the surgery is paid for up front, though, so this could delay when you are able to get your procedure.
Melinda Hill Sineriz is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Her work has appeared on Pocket Sense and Sapling. She specializes in business, personal finance, and career writing. She has worked in insurance sales and financial planning, helping families to manage their money and prepare for the future. Learn more about her and her work at thatmelinda.com.