Plastic surgery is an attractive and tempting option to many people, especially women. The allure of a quick fix, nip, tuck or enlargement is great, and the need for that perfect body can blind women to the financial realities of plastic surgery. The good news is that finance options are available, should you not have a big bag of cash waiting under your bed for such as occasion.
A breast augmentation, commonly known as a boob job, is expected to set you back anywhere between R25,000 and R40,000. A simple nose job would cost you in the region of R30,000, while a more complicated nose procedure, which includes refinement of the tip, would cost you R45,000. Liposuction is relatively more affordable, costing between R11,000 and R20,000.
If you require financial assistance in footing these rather heavy bills, looking to your medical aid scheme will usually not bring you much joy. Medical aid schemes do not reimburse members for cosmetic medical procedures, since these are not regarded as a necessity, but as a luxury. Most medical aids will, however, cover functional and reconstructive surgery to a greater or lesser extent.
First Health Finance is a company that provides medical loans aimed specifically at covering the cost of plastic surgery. This company covers all surgical and non-surgical procedures, and loan amounts vary from R8,000 to R40,000, depending on the procedure. In applying for such a loan, you would need to provide your ID book, proof of residence for FICA purposes, and your salary slip to prove that you earn enough to pay back the repayment amounts each month. First Health Finance would conduct a credit check before they grant you a loan, to ensure that you have a stable credit history.
Bear in mind that not all plastic surgeons accept finance options, and some require cash up front, or at least a 50% deposit. When finance companies give you a loan for plastic surgery, there is always some level of risk that you will not be able to pay the amount back in full. The companies share this risk with participating surgeons with something called the “doctor’s discount”.
The doctor negotiates their “discount” with the finance company, usually between 4 and 10%, to be able to offer financing. If you are approved by a finance company, your doctor gets their money, less the discount. Some surgeons don’t wish, or cannot afford, to accept the discounted payment.
A drawback to plastic surgery loans is that these are generally “unsecured” personal loans, meaning that the loan provider has nothing against which to secure the loan – i.e. they cannot repossess your car or house if you do not pay back the loan. The disadvantage of this is that the interest rates to the consumer become quite exorbitant, as they are designed to “protect” both the surgeon and the loan provider in the event of non payment.
Plastic surgery is a real necessity for many people. Before jumping in, however, really think about whether that nose or boob job is worth being in debt for, and try to save as much cash up front as you can – it’ll save you paying a lot of interest in the long run!