Introduction: Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery
Where’s The “Plastic” In Plastic Surgery? The name is taken from the Greek word “plastikos” which means “to mold or shape.”
Initially plastic surgery procedures were limited to facial and body reconstruction caused by accidents, trauma, illness or birth defects. As people began to see the purely cosmetic possibilities, many surgeons expanded their services to include face-lifts, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), breast augmentation and liposuction.
It’s important to know the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, especially if you’re planning on having your insurance company pay the bill for your procedure.
Cosmetic surgery is performed solely to improve a person’s outward physical appearance and self-esteem by correcting naturally occurring conditions that the patient is unhappy with. Cosmetic surgery may be performed by either a Plastic Surgeon or a Cosmetic Surgeon. Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered by health insurance. Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct or reduce the effects of congenital defects, accidental trauma injury, infections, tumors, and other health-related conditions. It’s primary purpose is rarely to simply improve appearance except for extreme cases involving major facial or bodily damage resulting from automobile accidents, etc.
Plastic Surgery may only be performed by a Plastic Surgeon.
Financing Plastic Surgery
In most cases insurance does pay for plastic surgery although there are some cases where your claim may be reduced or denied completely. That’s why it is always important to coordinate the planned procedure with your health insurance provider before you get the procedure.Often times the difference between whether or not your insurance company will cover the bill is the reason for the procedure.
If, for example, you are having your nose reshaped because you’re unhappy with your profile — no deal. You’re on your own. However, get that same nose job because your doctor has diagnosed a chronic breathing problem that results in the potentially dangerous condition known as ”Sleep Apnea” and you could end up with a new nose courtesy of your health insurance provider!
Now if you are planning to visit a Plastic Surgeon in the near future, keep the following two things in mind:
1. Your plastic surgeon should be “Board Certified” by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
2. If your doctor will be using anesthesia then make sure that only a licensed Anesthesiologist administers the medicine and make sure that the facility where the procedure is being performed is accredited by at least one of the following organizations:
- American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)
- Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
Although making sure that all of these certifications are present is no guarantee of a trouble-free experience, not having these certifications means that both the doctor performing plastic surgery, as well as the people who run the facility, don’t take your health and well being seriously!
You should NEVER use an uncertified plastic surgeon or facility. The risk is simply not worth it.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons®
Also, be careful to make a list of only those plastic surgeons accepting finance. Not all plastic surgeons accept financing, often because of the ”doctor’s discount”, a amount of between 4% and 10% the doctor’s have to leave to the insurance company.
For instance, if you your procedure costs 2,000 US dollars, and your surgeon has a ‘doctor’s discount’ of 5%, he will receive only 1,900 US dollars.
Interest Rates when Financing Plastic Surgery.
While there are sometimes special programs with low rates, most plastic surgery finance companies offer interest rates range from 5.99% to 27.99%. Lower rates are awarded to borrowers with a strong credit history. The bank assigns a higher rate when the borrower is deemed a higher risk.
This brings us to Financing Plastic Surgery itself: ”an unsecured loan” means that there is no collateral and nothing to repossess in the event that the client stops payment. Banks try to reduce this risk by carefully evaluating the application and credit report to predict how likely it is that you will repay a loan. Your credit report discloses your credit experiences, such as your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, late payments, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts. A credit scoring system awards points for each factor that helps predict who is most likely to repay a debt. Credit problems, such as late payments, collections or bankruptcy may affect your credit score for up to 8 years. Some companies make loan decisions on credit score alone.Scoring models may also consider factors like your job or occupation, length of employment, or whether you own a home. In general, someone with “good, established credit” will:
- Be a citizen of the U.S. and a legal resident of the state where they apply;
- Meet any age requirements for personal loans in their state;
- Have two years of established credit, with NO derogatory credit entries (credit accounts in collection, tax liens or civil judgments, delinquencies);
- Have a debt to income ratio, with the new loan, that will not exceed 50%;
- Have total unsecured debt, including the loan amount requested, less than 50% of their gross annual income; and,
- Have less than $15,000 in credit card debt.
Given that so many of these factors are derived from your application, the way you treat the application will help or hurt the applicant.
Plastic Surgery Financing Loan Application Tips
The way you complete your application for cosmetic surgery financing can affect your chances of being approved. Follow these simple tips to stack the cards in your favor!
Apply to one finance company at a time.
Many credit scoring models take into consideration how many times you have applied for financing in a short period of time. To protect the lenders, some credit scoring companies lower your credit score with each inquiry. So people who apply and get declined and then apply again hurt their chances of getting plastic surgery financing with each time they apply. Credit scoring companies don’t want you to be able to borrow more than you can afford to pay back, so they assume each inquiry will be approved and drop your score a small amount.
Duly fill out the plastic surgery loan application, and this means completely. Answer every question and complete all the fields. Many banks will penalize you for blank fields, so submitting a partial application may hurt your chances.
Pay particular attention to the following questions:
Employment: if you are self-employed or own your own business you may wish to use your professional title (President, CEO) rather than “Owner”. If you are in a trade that often changes jobs (i.e. plumber or carpenter) you may want to reference your years with a union or trade organization rather than your latest job.
Relationships : while dependent information and marital status are not required, it is a good idea to complete these fields. If you’re a woman and recently married, be sure to hyphenate your last name so that at least one last name matches your credit report.
Income: be sure to include all sources of income, not just your pay, in the gross income field. This might include rental income, social security or money from a trust. List only the required minimum payments, even if you are able to pay more. When payments, like rent, are shared, include only your portion of the payment.
Approval: if you have not been at your present address for more than 3 years, you may be asked to provide a previous address over the phone after submitting your initial application. Make sure to use the address that will show on your credit report even if that address is not used for mail. Avoid using a PO Box!