Most people believe that having insurance coverage is the only real option of undergoing bariatric surgery. Thankfully it’s not. Even after a long-fought battle with the insurance provider, being rejected happens more times than not. Don’t worry, you still have options to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance.
Most of our patients find Mexico Bariatric Center® because they need an affordable alternative to bariatric surgery in the United States when insurance is denied or not covered.
There are 6 primary ways to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance.
- Self-pay (cash pay)
- Payment plans (loan/financing)
- Grants for gastric sleeve or bypass
- Clinical Trials
- Sponsors and Charities
- Medical Tourism
If you are considering bariatric surgery but struggle with costs, think of it this way – how much is being healthy and happy worth to you?
If the answer is priceless, then think of bariatric surgery as worth it whether your insurance covers it or not.
Now you just need to find the most reasonable payment option for you. So here are your best options.
1. Self-Pay for Bariatric Surgery
Paying out-of-pocket for bariatric surgery is ultimately the most economical option for saving money because you do not have to pay long-term interest. Unfortunately, paying $19,000 for gastric sleeve surgery or $25,000 for gastric bypass surgery is out of the question for most people.
So how do you self-pay for bariatric surgery?
There are many ways to go about paying for bariatric surgery, it’s just about figuring out your best option.
- Friends or family members
- Credit card
- Tax returns/refunds
- Retirement Plan – 401(k)
Credit Cards – Cash advances from credit cards is not an awful choice since it accrues high interest immediately plus high fees. However, 0% introductory APR/balance transfer credit cards with interest-free periods of 12 to 24 months are great options.
Borrow from 401(k) – If you have an eligible 401(k) plan and your employer participates in getting a loan against your retirement plan, that is a good option for financing your bariatric surgery. It is like you are borrowing from yourself.
2. Payment Plans, Loans, and Financing for Bariatric Surgery
If you need help paying for bariatric surgery, you may want to consider financing options. In most countries, there are payment plans that you can choose from including bank loans, medical loans, or bariatric provider loans. Payment plans are a great way to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance.
a. Bank Loan for Bariatric Surgery
A bank loan, or a personal loan from your current bank, is a viable option to pay for bariatric surgery. Bank loans are generally more affordable in terms of interest rates and down payments, depending on the relationship you have with your bank. A personal loan is another type of unsecured loan, meaning interest rates can be higher because you are not offering collateral.1
If you choose a secured bank loan, you are more likely to get lower interest rates because you are offering collateral against your loan. A secured loan can be risky, with the potential to foreclose your house or even be forced into bankruptcy.
Ultimately, checking with your bank for financing options should be one of your first steps to pay for bariatric surgery, if going the loan route.
Banks normally need close to perfect credit score. Other options besides bank loans are:
- Credit Unions – deals with lower credit scores and has lower rates
- Peer-to-Peer / Marketplace Lenders – needs average to fair credit score
- Online Lenders, like SoFi – easier with credit requirements and have quicker funding
b. Medical Loan for Bariatric Surgery (Unsecured Personal Loan)
A medical loan is another type of personal loan for health care or medical care financing. They are generally called unsecured personal loans. The name “unsecured” refers to the loan not needing to be secured by your property, which puts a lot of risk on your family.2
There are many medical financing companies that provide low-cost medical loans for bariatric surgery that help pay for all medical expenses. Medical loans are extremely beneficial by giving financing options for weight loss surgery to patients without going through a long-term approval process.
These medical finance companies that act as “one-off” financers. In most cases, patients get better interest rates and down payments from their bank although it might be a long process. With medical financing companies, you can be accepted in as little as a day, therefore undergoing weight loss surgery much sooner.
Ultimately, medical loans have a faster process because they specialize in health care financing. Make sure to check with your bariatric provider to see if they have a recommended third-party option for medical loans.
c. Surgeon Financing (Payment Plan Directly Through Bariatric Surgeon Provider)
Depending on your down-payment, surgeons can offer high-interest rates as well as little to no interest over a period of time.
Many bariatric surgeons or bariatric providers offer financing options for their procedures to help accommodate all patients. With most surgeons in the United States and around the world, payment plans are available
There are two types of financing through your bariatric provider; in-house financing and a payment plan through a partnered finance company.
Surgeons may also use third-party finance companies even though they may tell you that they provide “in-house financing”. This is different than a payment plan.
If you have a relationship or history with your surgeon, you are more likely to make payment plans without needing financing. Make sure your bariatric surgery package price is all-inclusive, with the payment plan reflecting ALL costs related to your surgery.
3. Government Grants
Government grants are an option for bariatric surgery, although grants can be difficult to obtain. Grants are available for patients who are medically approved for bariatric surgery, although are not able to pay for financial reasons. Unfortunately, not everyone is accepted to be funded for surgery.
Several non-profits, such as the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation, offer grants to those that qualify for weight loss surgery but have been unable to obtain it for financial reasons. These organizations cannot provide grants for everyone, but select patients can obtain a free weight loss surgery grant that will cover the costs of their surgery.
You should first make sure the bariatric surgeon you are interested in is qualified to have knowledge of the WLSFA grant program. If you are interested in applying for a grant, start here.
4. Clinical Trials
Weight loss surgery is often changing. It wasn’t until recently that gastric sleeve surgery became the premier choice for weight loss surgeons, for example, and other treatments (like a gastric balloon) have only recently been FDA approved.
New WLS treatments are often looking for patients that are interested in free surgery to be a part of the clinical trials, and although the results are less guaranteed, it can be an option.
5. Sponsors or Charities
Knowing the importance of weight loss procedures, many charities, and former weight loss sufferers will help provide weight loss surgery for free for those that qualify. There are many people vying for those spots, so it’s important to start applying early. Many hospitals offer charity care as well if you have a referral from a doctor.
Although it is occasionally difficult, you may also want to consider asking family and friends for their support, through a GoFundMe page or other means. Although it may be difficult to get your weight loss surgery for free through this strategy, you can sometimes get the financial help you need to find some relief from the costs.
6. Medical Tourism
Medical tourism for bariatric surgery in countries like Mexico offers substantial savings for uninsured and underinsured. Weight loss surgery in Mexico is one of the most affordable and reliable options for patients beyond borders.
Medical travelers can save up to 70% on weight loss procedures like gastric sleeve in Mexico.
Mexico Bariatric Center is the number 1 provider of bariatric services in Tijuana and other Mexican cities. We provide affordable weight loss surgery in Mexico for cash-pay bariatric surgery. We also offer financing options!
What Should Be Included in Your Package
- Hospital Stay
- Anesthesia and Surgeon Staff/Assistants
- Pre-Op and Post-Op Testing and Visits
- Any addition Consultations/Nutritionist
- Recovery Stay
- Support Group
- Aftercare Support
- Medical Specialist or Coordinator
Honorable Mentions to Pay for Bariatric Surgery
Keep in mind, there are many other alternatives to paying for bariatric surgery without insurance. Here are some honorable mentions to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance.
- Credit cards
- Equity loans using home
- 401k loans
- Family and friends loans
- Secured/unsecured medical loans
- Private medical insurance
- Medicare or Medicaid
- Life insurance policy loan
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
- Alternative financing
You need to do your research and find the best payment option for you! Give us a call at 855-768-7247 if you need help.