Since breast augmentation became safe and viable in the late 20th century, women have sought out the surgery consistently. Every year the procedure remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries around the world. Additionally, while the procedure was initially popularized by celebrities, breast augmentation is more accessible to the average woman. With that said, breast augmentation is also a financial decision that patients must fully understand and make before opting for the procedure. Breast augmentation surgery often requires budgeting, saving, or financing. In rare circumstances such as for breast reconstructiom insurance coverage may be an option.
The Average Cost of Breast Augmentation
The exact cost of breast augmentation will vary based on several factors. For example, geographic area impacts the cost. In areas where breast augmentation is in high demand or popular, the surgery tends to be on the lower cost end. Examples of places that fall within this range in the US include Florida and Wyoming.
The chosen surgeon’s experience will also impact the final cost of breast augmentation surgery. Plastic surgeons who have decades of experience or are considered leaders in their field will tend to have high surgical costs. Newer surgeons or those in a fellowship position may offer lower fees.
Finally, is the surgery performed in an outpatient facility or a hospital setting? Depending on the circumstances, either one could end up costing more. Generally, a hospital setting tends to cost more because of the availability of more advanced equipment, more staff, and because some patients at higher risk of complications require surgery in a hospital setting.
Breast augmentation is usually considered a completely elective and cosmetic procedure. However, there are some situations where insurance coverage may pay for breast augmentation surgery. This accounts for an extremely small portion of breast augmentation finance options used and approved every year.
One of the more common reasons insurance covers breast augmentation is for breast reconstruction. Sometimes during breast cancer treatment one or both of the breasts are removed. This is known as a mastectomy. When this happens, some insurance companies and plans may pay for the placement of breast implants because it would help restore the appearance of breasts. Other situations where insurance may be an option include significant breast asymmetry, issues with previous implants (though implant manufacturers are more likely to fund this), and conditions where the breasts never fully develop.
Normally, for an insurance company to cover breast augmentation certain criteria must be met. The exact criteria will vary based on the plan and company. A few examples of possible criteria include proving that there are no alternative treatments or that they have all been exhausted unsuccessfully, recommendations from doctors and specialists, or proof of diagnoses that support the surgery.
To find out if your insurance coverage would cover breast augmentation surgery, it is best to contact the company directly. Not all individual plans will cover it and some companies may have blanket policies about things they will not cover.
It is important to note that even if an insurance plan or company does cover breast augmentation surgery, it may not cover all parts of the surgery. Depending on the surgeon’s pricing structure, there may be consultation fees which insurance may or may not reimburse you for. Additionally, insurance may not cover individual costs included in the total such as anesthesia fees, supplies necessary for post-operative care, or facility fees.
Most insurance companies will also not compensate for missed work. While it is recommended that patients with paid time off use it for their surgery, this is not possible for all patients. Therefore, this is another financial decision to consider. The post-operative period when a patient is out of work could be anywhere between a few days and two weeks depending on the specific procedure.
Beyond insurance, there are several ways to finance breast augmentation surgery.
- Medical Credit: Likely one of the most common ways patients fund breast augmentation surgery is through lines of credit specific to medical expenses. Care Credit, United Medical Credit, and Alphaeon Credit are all examples, but there are several others. This is a great option to pay overtime. However, unlike traditional credit cards, it is more like financing a car where there is a specific time frame for paying it back. There is also fairly high interest rates, but many do offer introductory rates with little or no interest for a certain period of time.
- Payment Plans: Not all surgeons will negotiate or offer payment plans to their patients. Many who do have in-house payment plans require the surgery to be paid off before the patient can undergo it. These do often have lower or no interest rates as long as a patient is reliable and consistently pays towards the surgery.
- Loans: Personal loans or other loans are also a possible financing solution. They have similar pros and cons to medical credit cards.
Things to Consider Before Financing
Financing is an amazing tool to help patients find the ideal coverage for their surgery. Before choosing any particular breast augmentation financing option, patients should fully understand the conditions of each. This includes the interest rates, terms for repayment, and what you can and cannot use the credit or loan for. Thus, this prevents misunderstanding later in the process.
Tips for responsibly financing breast augmentation include knowing what options your chosen surgeon offers or accepts, if you are eligible for insurance coverage, if your insurance plan covers breast augmentation, and what you can personally afford to pay as a monthly payment. Do not enter into a financial agreement that you will not be able to pay off according to the terms or soon after taking out the line of credit.
As previously stated, it is imperative that patients understand the full scope of breast augmentation surgery, post-operative care, and their financial responsibility before opting for the procedure. Similarly, understanding the full terms of any particular financing options helps patients both get the surgery they want and maintain a good credit standing and finances. If interested in continuing, begin consulting with surgeons and discuss the financial implications with anyone in the household whom it could affect (such as a spouse). Meeting with a financial advisor is also a good idea, especially if you are unsure of what you can afford.